What else is there to know about Alzheimer’s disease aside from the most common symptom of massive memory loss? Well, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, the 2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures is a comprehensive statistical abstract of U.S. data on Alzheimer’s disease that includes: prevalence; mortality; the costs of Alzheimer’s care; family caregiving; and a special report on lifetime risk.
The Association’s report details the escalation of Alzheimer’s disease, which now is the seventh-leading cause of death in the country and the fifth-leading cause of death for those over age 65. It also offers numerous statistics that convey the burden Alzheimer’s imposes on individuals, families, government, business, and the nation’s health and long-term care systems. For example:
- Every 71 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease; by mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.
- Women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop Alzheimer’s disease (17 percent vs. 9 percent). One in six women and one in ten men age 55 and older can expect to develop Alzheimer’s disease in their remaining lifetime. Although it may appear that being female is a risk factor, more women will develop Alzheimer’s because on average, women live longer than men, thereby having more time to develop the disease.
- In 2007, there were nearly 10 million Americans age 18 and over providing 8.4 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s disease valued at $89 billion, four times more than what Medicaid pays for nursing home care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
- In addition, a quarter million American children age 8 to 18 years old are providing care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
- There are 1 to 1.4 million “long-distance caregivers” in the United States. About 1 million live more than two hours or more away and another 400,000 live at least an hour away from their loved ones. Many of these long-distance caregivers also incur higher caregiving-related expenses compared to other caregivers.
- Seventy percent of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias live at home where friends and family take care of them.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association