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Report warns of rising Alzheimer’s costs and their impact on families

The rising number of Alzheimer’s cases and their accompanying costs are taking a toll on caregivers and society at large. A new Alzheimer’s Association report published last March makes some worrying projections about the cost of the disease.

The population of elderly Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase 29 percent from the current 5.5 million to 7.1 million by 2025. Without any headway on effective treatments by then, the number will likely skyrocket to 13.8 million people in 2050.

The report’s authors pointed out that family caregivers shoulder most of the responsibility when it comes to looking after Alzheimer’s patients. As a result, there is likely to be negative impact on their emotional, physical and financial wellbeing, the Alzheimer’s Association said in a statement.

Last year over 16 million people spent 18.4 billion hours providing unpaid care to Alzheimer’s patients. Families assume 70 percent of the lifetime cost of their care, which totaled $329,360 per patient in 2017.

The report warned of the “growing cost and impact of Alzheimer’s on the nation’s health care system.” Its authors emphasized that society would benefit greatly from the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease as it would reduce long-term care costs.

The caregiving expenses for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are estimated to be $277 billion this year, not including unpaid caregiving. The amount includes Medicaid and Medicare, along with out-of-pocket expenses mostly for nursing homes and private insurance.

“The need for reliable and creative approaches to pay for the devastating cost of home care and nursing home care is overwhelming,” said Michael Gilfix. Mr. Gilfix is an attorney and entrepreneur who has helped hundreds of families obtain quality care — without the loss of the family home and without financial destruction.