U.S. has 15 Million Dementia Caregivers; Provide Care Valued at $200 Billion

There are nearly 15 million Alzheimer’s disease and dementia caregivers in the United States, according to the “2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” released today by the Alzheimer’s Association. The report shows that there are far more of these caregivers than previously believed—37% more than reported last year, according to the association.

These individuals provided 17 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $202.6 billion. If Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers were the only residents of a single state, it would be the 5th largest state in the country, according to the report.

“Facts and Figures” also revealed that Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers have an increased potential to develop their own serious health issues, presenting a financial burden of nearly $8 billion in increased healthcare costs.

Today, an estimated 5.4 million people are living with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that total payments for health and long-term care services for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will amount to $183 billion in 2011, which is $11 billion more than in 2010.

Medicare and Medicaid costs will make up the majority of this increase, according to the report. By 2050, Medicare costs for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will increase nearly 600% and Medicaid costs will soar almost 400%.

“The projected rise in Alzheimer’s incidence will become an enormous balloon payment for the nation—a payment that will exceed 1 trillion dollars by 2050,” said Robert Egge, Vice President for Public Policy for the Alzheimer’s Association, in a release. “It is clear our government must make a smart commitment in order make these costs unnecessary.”

Click here for the report.

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