This report provides information to increase understanding of the public health impact of Alzheimer's disease (AD), including incidence and prevalence, mortality rates, health expenditures and costs of care, and effect on caregivers and society in general. It also explores the roles and unique challenges of long-distance caregivers, as well as interventions that target those challenges. An estimated 5.2 million Americans have AD. Approximately 200,000 people younger than 65 years with AD comprise the younger onset AD population; 5 million comprise the older onset AD population. Throughout the coming decades, the baby boom generation is projected to add about 10 million to the total number of people in the United States with AD. Today, someone in America develops AD every 68 seconds. By 2050, one new case of AD is expected to develop every 33 seconds, or nearly a million new cases per year, and the total estimated prevalence is expected to be 13.8 million. AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death in Americans age 65 years or older. Between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of deaths resulting from heart disease, stroke, and prostate cancer decreased 16%, 23%, and 8%, respectively, whereas the proportion resulting from AD increased 68%. The number of deaths from AD as determined by official death certificates (83,494 in 2010) likely underrepresents the number of AD-related deaths in the United States. A projected 450,000 older Americans with AD will die in 2013, and a large proportion will die as a result of complications of AD. In 2012, more than 15 million family members and other unpaid caregivers provided an estimated 17.5 billion hours of care to people with AD and other dementias, a contribution valued at more than $216 billion. Medicare payments for services to beneficiaries age 65 years and older with AD and other dementias are three times as great as payments for beneficiaries without these conditions, and Medicaid payments are 19 times as great. Total payments in 2013 for health care, long-term care, and hospice services for people age 65 years and older with dementia are expected to be $203 billion (not including the contributions of unpaid caregivers). An estimated 2.3 million caregivers of people with AD and other dementias live at least 1 hour away from the care recipient. These "long-distance caregivers" face unique challenges, including difficulty in assessing the care recipient's true health condition and needs, high rates of family disagreement regarding caregiving decisions, and high out-of-pocket expenses for costs related to caregiving. Out-of-pocket costs for long-distance caregivers are almost twice as high as for local caregivers.
Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Inc.