Memory Mondays: Everything You Need to Know about Alzheimer’s

The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease alone is enough to give pause. When you consider exponential costs and the effects on caregivers, its impact becomes even more apparent and real.

The most recent facts and figures released by the Alzheimer’s Association for 2017 paint a picture of the disease and what it means for our society, today and in the future. Here’s what you need to know.

Definition: Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease and is the most common form of dementia. Symptoms vary, but they commonly include memory loss hindering daily life, confusion with time or place and increased anxiety and agitation.

Prevalence: An estimated 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s in 2017. That number is expected to reach up to 16 million by 2050. In fact, someone in the United States develops the disease every 66 seconds. At the current anticipated rate of growth, that will translate to every 33 seconds by 2050.

Cost: Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will cost the U.S. $259 billion in 2017. These costs could soar as high as $1.1 trillion by mid-century. Medicare and Medicaid are expected to cover about two-thirds of the current cost, and out-of-pocket spending is estimated at $56 billion.

Caregivers: More than 15 million people provided 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia last year. Their work can be valued at $230.1 billion. Memory support caregivers report their own deteriorating health as a result of their care responsibilities, too, more so than those who care for older people without dementia.

Mortality: Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S., and one in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Since 2000, deaths from heart disease have declined by 14%, while deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have gone up by 89%.

The Alzheimer’s Association also breaks statistics down by state. Below are a few quick facts for the state of Illinois:

– In 2017, about 220,000 people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s in Illinois. This number is expected to increase by 18.2% by 2025.

– Medicaid is expected to cover approximately $1.56 billion for the costs of caring for Illinois residents with Alzheimer’s in 2017. By 2025, Medicaid costs could rise by 36.4%.

– Like it is nationally, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in Illinois.

– In 2016, 588,000 caregivers administered 670 million unpaid hours of care in Illinois, which can be valued at $8.47 billion.