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ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION REPORT: 1 IN 3 Seniors Dies with Alzheimer's or Another Dementia; 2.3 Million Americans are 'Long-Distance Caregivers' for people with Alzheimer’s; Costs for Long-Distance Caregivers are Almost Twice as High
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 09:25 Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
“West Virginia is home to more than 48,000 people living with Alzheimer’s disease. With deaths from this disease continuing to rise, it is clear that urgent, meaningful action is necessary,” said Jane Marks, Executive Director. “Our community needs to come together to fight against this disease, particularly as more and more people age into greater risk for developing a disease that today has no cure.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is the only leading cause of death without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. Based on 2010 data, Alzheimer’s was reported as the underlying cause of death for 83,494 individuals – individuals who died from Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Facts and Figures reveals that in 2013 an estimated 450,000 people in the United States will die with Alzheimer’s. The true number of deaths caused by Alzheimer’s is likely to be somewhere between the officially reported number of those dying from and those dying with Alzheimer’s.
According to Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Facts and Figures, a recent study evaluated the contribution of individual common diseases to death using a nationally representative sample of older adults and found that dementia was the second largest contributor to death behind heart failure. Among 70-years-olds with Alzheimer’s disease, 61% are expected to die within a decade. Among 70-year-olds without Alzheimer’s, only 30% will die within a decade.
Human and Financial Toll of Alzheimer’s
More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease including 48,000 here in West Virginia. Without the development of medical breakthroughs that prevent, slow or stop the disease, by 2050, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease could reach 13.8 million. Previous estimates suggest that number could be high as 16 million.
Alzheimer’s and dementia place an enormous burden on individuals and families. In 2012, there were more than 15 million caregivers who provided more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $216 billion. In West Virginia, that translates to 108,000 caregivers providing 123,000,000 hours of unpaid care that is valued at 1,520,000,000. Individuals with dementia often require increasing levels of supervision and personal care as the disease progresses. As symptoms exacerbate as the disease progresses, the care required of family members and friends can often result in increased emotional stress and health challenges for caregivers. Due to the physical and emotional toll of caregiving, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.1 billion in additional health care costs of their own in 2012.
The burden on the nation’s health care system and government programs is also enormous. According to Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Facts and Figures, the total payments for health and long-term care services for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will total $203 billion in 2013, the lion’s share of which will be borne by Medicare and Medicaid with combined costs of $142 billion. Despite these staggering figures today, by 2050 total costs will increase 500 % to $1.2 trillion.
2013 Health and Long-Term Care Services Breakdown
(HMO, Private Insurance,
Managed Care Organizations and Uncompensated Care)
“Alzheimer’s disease steals everything – steadily, relentlessly, inevitably. With baby boomers reaching the age of elevated risk, we do not have time to do what we have always done,” said Robert Egge, Vice President of Public Policy for the Alzheimer’s Association. “The National Institutes of Health needs to reset its priorities and focus its resources on the crisis at our doorstep, and Congress must fully fund implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan to solve the crisis.”
Special Focus on the Long-Distance Caregiving Experience
Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Facts & Figures also explores the challenges faced by long-distance caregivers for people living with Alzheimer’s. The report finds that nearly 15% of caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia are “long-distance caregivers” – caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease who live at least 1 hour away. These long-distance caregivers had annual out-of-pocket expenses nearly twice as high as local caregivers – $9,654 compared to $5,055.
“The difficulties of Alzheimer’s and dementia are significant for all caregivers, but individuals who live a substantial distance from their loved ones face unique hardships,” said Beth Kallmyer, MSW, Vice President of Constituent Services for the Alzheimer’s Association. “Long-distance caregivers have nearly double the out-of-pocket expenses of local caregivers, experience greater challenges assessing the care recipient’s conditions and needs, report more difficulty communicating with health care providers and often have higher levels of psychological distress and family discord in their caregiving experience.”
The Alzheimer’s Association, West Virginia Chapter offers a variety of educational and support resources for people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers – a list of upcoming programs can be found on alz.org/wv. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association has a variety of resources available 24 hours a day, seven days a week including the toll-free Helpline (800.272.3900), care consultation and online resources to assist families with the care management of someone living with Alzheimer’s regardless of geography. ALZConnected™ ( HYPERLINK "http://www.alzconnected.org" www.alzconnected.org), powered by the Alzheimer’s Association, is a social networking community for people with Alzheimer's, caregivers and others affected by the disease to share questions and form new connections. Users can tap into a diverse community through the site's message boards and create private groups organized around specific topics.
The full text of the Alzheimer's Association 2013 Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures can be viewed at HYPERLINK "http://www.alz.org" www.alz.org after the embargo lifts. The full report will also appear in the March 2013 issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association (Volume 9, Issue 2).
Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures
The Alzheimer's Association Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures report is a comprehensive compilation of national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The report conveys the impact of Alzheimer’s on individuals, families, government and the nation’s health care system. Since its 2007 inaugural release, the report has become the most cited source covering the broad spectrum of Alzheimer’s issues. Facts & Figures report is an official publication of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimer’s Association, West Virginia Chapter
About the Alzheimer’s Association, West Virginia Chapter: The Alzheimer’s Association, West Virginia Chapter is the only voluntary health organization in West Virginia solely dedicated to providing education and support service to individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, to their families and caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association is also the largest non-profit funder of Alzheimer’s disease research in the world, leading the global fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia. The chapter serves all 55 counties in West Virginia and six counties in eastern Ohio, and one county in Western Virginia.