Alzheimer’s Association report shows increasing burden on patients, caregivers and health system

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Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, an annual report by the Alzheimer’s Association, paints a sobering picture of the disease and its trajectory. The recently released 2021 Facts and Figures show an increasing burden on individuals, caregivers, government and the nation’s health care system.

Some of the key findings:

-There are 6.2 million seniors age 65+ living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050 that number is expected to more than double to 12.7 million.
-Between the years 2019 and 2020, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 145%. As the U.S. population ages, and reporting of Alzheimer’s on death certificates becomes more common, deaths due to Alzheimer’s are expected to increase further.
-This year total payments for caring for Americans age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is $355 billion. It is the fifth consecutive year that the total payments will surpass a quarter of a trillion dollars, up $50 billion from last year.
-In 2020, more than 11 million Americans provided unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias provided an estimated 15.3 billion hours of assistance valued at nearly $257 billion.

Caregiving:

-About one in three caregivers is age 65 or older.
-Approximately two-thirds of caregivers are women; more specifically, over one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.
-Most caregivers live with the person with dementia in the community.
-Approximately one-quarter of dementia caregivers are “sandwich generation” caregivers — meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under age 18.
-Of the total lifetime cost of caring for someone with dementia, 70% is borne by families — either through out-of-pocket health and long-term care expenses or from the value of unpaid care.

For 2021, the Alzheimer’s Association also issued a special report: Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer’s in America. The report found discrimination is a barrier to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. While Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias, they are less likely to be diagnosed than White Americans. Half or more dementia caregivers say they have faced discrimination when navigating health care settings for their loved ones.

The full facts and figures report can be found at alz.org.

If you want to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s and support your local Alabama Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, you can participate in any of their upcoming events, including a 5K on April 10 at Bridge Street and a TopGolf tournament on April 22, benefitting the Shoals and Huntsville Walks to End Alzheimer’s.

For more information you can call the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association 256-880-1575.

If you need assistance or resources related to Alzheimer’s and/or caregiving, you can always call the free Alzheimer’s Association helpline at 1-800-272-3900.