According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 Fact and Figures Report, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number could reach as high as 16 million. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia – more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Moreover, the cost implications for the United States are staggering: $259 billion in 2017. By 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion.
More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. In 2016, these caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of care valued at over $230 billion. Of this group, 35 percent report that their health has worsened due to their care responsibilities.
Home care, by providing companionship to seniors, helps ward off cognitive decline; studies show that lonely seniors are twice as likely to develop dementia as their socially engaged counterparts. Additionally, researchers have observed that dementia patients who don’t receive home care are substantially more likely than those who do to be admitted to the hospital.
The growing scourge of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias warrants increased research funding to fully understand the scope and character of the disease. While this funding has increased over the past few years, it is still not commensurate with the pace of the disease’s growing impact. While in pursuit of a cure, which is still at least a decade away, we must focus on providing high-quality, personalized care that meets the distinct needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
Key Legislation for Alzheimer’s:
- Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act: To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants for training and support services for families and caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Learn more about this legislation.