New Alzheimer’s Association report shows growing cost and impact of Alzheimer’s disease on nation’s families and economy

Medicaid costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s soar to $685M in Kentucky alone

For the first time, total payments for caring for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias exceeded a quarter trillion dollars ($259 billion), according to findings from the 2017 Alzheimer’s disease Facts and Figures report.

The report was released in early March by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The report also discusses the disease’s impact on caregivers, such as family members.

“Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias is exceptionally demanding,” said DeeAnna Esslinger, Executive Director for the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter. “New data shows that caregivers for Alzheimer’s and dementia may experience increased difficulties and detriments to their health than caregivers for individuals with certain other conditions.”

More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care, such as physical, emotional and financial support, for the estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s dementia. In 2016, Alzheimer’s caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care, which the report valued at $230.1 billion.

These contributions disproportionately come from women, who make up two-thirds of Alzheimer’s caregivers. New findings highlighted in the report show that of all dementia caregivers who provided care for more than 40 hours a week, 69 percent are women. Of those providing care to someone with dementia for more than 5 years, 63 percent are women and 37 percent are men.

The Facts and Figures report also found that the strain of caregiving produces serious physical and mental health consequences. For instance, more than one out of three (35 percent) caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia report that their health has gotten worse due to care responsibilities, compared to one out of five (19 percent) caregivers for older people without dementia. Also, depression and anxiety are more common among dementia caregivers than among people providing care for individuals with certain other conditions.

“In Kentucky, more than 30 percent of caregivers are also caring for a child or grandchild,” Esslinger stated. “Being the primary caregiver for both a person with dementia and children, can compound the stress and strain a caregiver may experience.”

The Facts and Figures report provides an in-depth look at the latest national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s prevalence, incidence, use and costs of care, caregiving and mortality.