The Alzheimer’s Association has released a new report showing that costs are growing for families, and our national economy, with increasing impacts from Alzheimer’s Disease, and other dementias. Also, the death rates from Alzheimer’s diseases continue to rise above national averages in Washington State.
For the first time, total payments for caring with individuals living with dementia exceeded a quarter trillion dollars ($259 billion,) according to findings in The 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures report. The report also discusses the impacts on caregivers, such as family members, from these diseases. More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care, including physical, emotional and financial support, for the estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. This contribution comes disproportionately from women, who make up two-thirds of Alzheimer’s caregivers.
The Facts & Figures report also found that the strain of caregiving produces serious physical and mental health consequences. For instance, 35% of caregivers report that their health has gotten worse due to their increased responsibilities caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Also, depression and anxiety are more common among dementia caregivers than among people providing care for individuals with other conditions.
Although deaths from other major causes have decreased, new data in the Facts & Figures report shows that deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased significantly. Between 2000 and 2014, deaths from heart disease have decreased 14%, while deaths related to Alzheimer’s disease have increased 89%. It is important to note that of the estimated 5.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia, 5.3 million are age 65 and older. In Washington State, we have over 127,000 people living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Finally, in the United States, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death, and the fifth leading cause for those ages 65 and older. In Washington State, Alzheimer’s is the third leading cause. Everywhere, Alzheimer’s remains the only disease among the top 10 causes of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed.
The Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter provides programs for caregivers and individuals living with dementia. Visit the Alzheimer’s Association website, or call the 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900, to find out about programs and resources available, some taking place right here in Fremont. The full text of the Alzheimer’s Association 2017 Facts & Figures report can be viewed on the ALZ.org website.