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Latinos face rising health care costs amid Alzheimer’s crisis

A recent report has warned that the Latino population in the United States is facing crippling health care and caregiver costs due to a dramatic rise in cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Unless there is a medical breakthrough in treatment, the number of U.S. Latinos with Alzheimer’s will rise exponentially to 3.5 million by 2060.

University of Southern California (USC) researchers found that U.S. Latinos are 50 percent more likely to get Alzheimer’s than non-Hispanic Americans. The number of Latinos who have the disease is estimated to rise from 379,000 in 2012 to 1.1 million by 2030.

Researchers estimated the total costs of Alzheimer’s on millions of caregivers and other members of the Latino community to increase from $373 billion in 2030 to $2.35 trillion by 2060. The direct costs of Alzheimer’s consist of long-term care and medical expenses. Indirect costs include lost earnings of individuals with the disease and unpaid informal care.

The report also found that the financial impact of Alzheimer’s will be greater on Latinos than on non-Hispanic Americans even though Latinos are more likely to turn to affordable care options. For example, they may choose adult day care over costlier alternatives like nursing home care or medical facilities.

“Due to demographic and family structure shifts among Latinos, there will be a lower ratio of younger generations able to take care of older generations living with Alzheimer’s, placing significant societal and economic stress on Latinos,” said USC senior scientist and report co-author Shinyi Wu.

The report’s authors proposed several solutions for immediate action. These include increasing research funding for Alzheimer’s, promoting early detection for the disease, improving access to caregiver resources and providing caregivers with informal training in multiple languages.

An excellent source of information and planning advice is authored by attorneys Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gilfix; Facing the Reality of Long-Term Care. It is available at www.Gilfix.com.