The Alzheimer’s Crisis
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging—it is a devastating disease.
For families, caregivers, and society at large, Alzheimer’s and related dementias can be emotionally and financially ruinous. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias generate catastrophic healthcare, economic, and social impacts—and these impacts are rapidly growing.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memories and thinking skills. Alzheimer’s often starts 5, 10, or even 20 years before symptoms appear. Symptoms usually start with difficulty remembering new information. In advanced stages, symptoms include confusion, mood and behavior changes, and inability to care for one’s self and perform basic life tasks. Alzheimer’s is ultimately fatal.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s knows that this is unacceptable and is working to stop Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is the only top-10 cause of death in the United States with NO cure, means of prevention, or treatment to modify the disease.
Alzheimer’s is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. It claimed more than 500,000 lives in 2010: more than 1,369 people a day.1
Approximately 5.7 million people in the U.S. currently have Alzheimer’s disease. The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is projected to triple to 16 million by 2050.2
Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds. By 2050 this is projected to be every 33 seconds.3
Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age: 200,000 people under age 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease,4 and the disease affects the entire family.
In 2016, 15 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care in for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.5 A new report from UsAgainstAlzheimer’s shows that the U.S. has vastly underestimated the public costs and consequences of the Alzheimer’s epidemic, and major social trends have direct and adverse implications for our capacity to cope with the Alzheimer’s epidemic in the years ahead.6
Alzheimer’s disease is the most feared disease in the U.S.7
Alzheimer’s disproportionately impacts women and communities of color. For more information on gender and race disparities, see our disparities page.
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the nation. The financial costs of Alzheimer’s for families and the government are enormous.
Total annual out-of-pocket payments in the U.S. for healthcare, long-term care, and hospice care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to total $259 billion in 2017 and increase to $1.1 trillion by 2050,8 if we don’t develop a treatment or cure.
Medicare and Medicaid cover $175 billion, or approximately 68% of the out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Medicaid payments are on average 23 times higher for those with Alzheimer’s compared to those without, and Medicare payments are three times greater on average. By 2050, Alzheimer’s is expected to increase Medicare and Medicaid costs by over 330%.9
Federal research funding is inadequate for the scope of the problem.