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Some Statistics

Alzheimer's is all but a step-child in medical care and research.

Far less money is spent on trying to find a cure for Alzhiemer's than on other more 'popular' diseases. This mind-set has to change, otherwise, with more and more diseases being cured, with more and more people living longer, and with 50% of them destined to suffer and die from Alzheimer's, then what's the point?

Researchers learn more and more about Alzheimer’s every year, and some of the statistics are staggering indeed. The Alzheimer’s Association publishes an annual report detailing the costs and complications of the disease to patients, caregivers and the health care system

Statistics vary regarding almost everything about Alzheimer's, but the following, culled from different sources, are within the generally accepted norms:

One out of three Americans knows of someone with Alzheimer's, but the vast majority knows little about the disease and shows scant interest in learning.

Alzheimer's can begin to attack the brain decades before the first symptoms appear.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s can develop in people as young as age 30. We may think of Alzheimer’s as a disease of the elderly, but up to 5% of Americans with Alzheimer’s (around 200,000) have the early-onset variety, which usually appears in one’s 50s or 40s, but can start to show symptoms as early as one’s 30s. Though the cause still isn’t well understood, some of these cases have a genetic component.

Medicare and almost all medical and hospitalization insurance do not cover the cost of long-term care for most Alzheimer's patients.

In June 2001, the Alzheimer's Association reported that over 62% of respondents to the question, "Do you think your physician is knowledgeable about Alzheimer's disease?" replied 'NO'

In 1999, there were 44,536 deaths from Alzheimer's, surpassing the combined total of auto accidents and breast cancer in the United States.

In the Alzheimer's Association 2012 report, Alzheimer’s was listed as the 6th-leading cause of death in the U.S., and the 5th-leading cause of death in adults aged 65 and over.  “Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death as the populations of the United States and other countries age,” reports the Alzheimer’s Association. In part, this is because we are experiencing more success in reducing the rate of death from other causes such as heart disease, while the rate of death from AD continues to increase.

As of February 2003, in America, Alzheimer's is the fourth leading cause of death, following heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Nearly half of adults aged 85 and over have Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, an estimated 45% of American seniors 85 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s, and one in eight people aged 65 and over (13%) has Alzheimer’s disease.  It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

In America, a new case of Alzheimer’s develops every 68 seconds; by 2050, the incidence will increase to every 33 seconds. The rate at which Alzheimer’s disease occurs—scary as that number already is — it is projected to double by the middle of the century because of the growing population of people over age 65. The number of people who live into their 80s and 90s is also expected to grow, and the likelihood of Alzheimer’s increases with more advanced age.

One in 50 Americans has Alzheimer's. Every day, an average of 986 patients is diagnosed with the disease.

Three-quarters of home-bound caregivers do not get consistent help from family members, especially spousal caregivers.

From 5% to 25% of victims have Alzheimer's in the family. To date, there is no known cause for the vast majority of those stricken.

Depending on where you live, the average annual cost of caring for an Alzheimer's patient is nearly $60,000.

The average length of stay in a care facility is 2 to 3 years, but it can often last 6 or 7 years.

Today, the annual cost of Alzheimer's care in America is about $100 billion and by mid-century, as the boomers age, the costs are expected to overwhelm the health care system, bankrupting Medicare and Medicaid

Out of approximately 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, more than half may not know they have it. In part because of the difficulty with detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), many of those with Alzheimer’s remain undiagnosed. As our ability to detect early-stage Alzheimer’s improves, though, it will increase the overall number of people known to have the disease.




Alzheimer’s caregivers have an increased likelihood of physical strain, mental and emotional stress, depression, financial problems, and familial/interpersonal issues. The communication difficulties and personality changes of Alzheimer’s disease can place incredible strain on caregivers. “The close relationship between the caregiver and the impaired person—a relationship involving shared emotions, experiences and memories—may particularly place caregivers at risk for psychological and physical illness” (Facts and Figures). Therapeutic and social support are shown to reduce this risk.

Forty-three percent of caregivers for Alzheimer's patients fall into a clinical depression that can linger for years, even after the loved one dies.

Fifteen percent will die before their contemporaries, and many will die before the patient they're caring for.

Elderly caregivers with a chronic illness themselves have a 63% higher mortality rate than their non-caregiving peers.

The caregiving spouses of Alzheimer's patients suffer from depression at three times the rate of others in their age group.

There are lower rates of depression among those caring for a relative with cancer and other terminal diseases than those caring for someone with Alzheimer's.

Over 15 million Americans are unpaid caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients provide a whopping 80% of the care provided to AD patients at home, while a mere 10 percent of seniors receive all their care from paid health professionals. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, most (70%) of those caregivers are women.

Even if cared for in the home, it can easily cost over $100 a day just for an in-home aide, and medications, supplies, rentals, doctor visits, visiting nurses, and more, add up to an another average of several hundred dollars a month.

Alzheimer's is the third most expensive disease in the United States after heart disease and cancer.

In 2012, the average annual cost of health care and LTC services for someone with Alzheimer’s was $43,847. Over $9,000 of that amount was paid out of pocket. About $30,000, or roughly 70% , was paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid coverage is particularly important for those Medicare beneficiaries who have very low income and assets but who need long-term care or skilled nursing.

Well over 4 million Americans have Alzheimer's.

76 million boomers are reaching the age where Alzheimer's is most prevalent. By the time they reach their mid-80's, 50% are expected to have Alzheimer's.

By 2050, Americans with Alzheimer's are expected to reach 13.2 million.

Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer's and only a few drugs that can slightly slow down its progress and maybe reverse some symptoms for a while in some patients.

More women than men have Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that nearly two-thirds of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s are women. However, it is important to note that this does not mean there is a gender-based predisposition for the disease; the primary reason for this statistic is that women generally live longer than men.

The aging population is more vulnerable to Alzheimer's because drugs have been developed to prolong the life of those with cancer and heart disease, only to leave them more susceptible to Alzheimer's as they continue to age.

An estimated 800,000 Americans with Alzheimer’s are living alone. For all of the Alzheimer’s sufferers who are receiving support from family caregivers or who are living in an Alzheimer’s or dementia care facility as many as 15% of people with AD live alone. Many of those have no identified caregiver, a situation which puts them at greater risk of social isolation, poor self-care, falls and other medical emergencies, wandering, malnutrition and a range of other issues.

While it is true that some younger people get Alzheimer's, it is generally considered a disease associated with aging. This trend is likely to continue as more diseases are overcome and more and more people live longer.