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Alzheimer News 3/18/2008
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10 million U.S. baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's disease

1 in 8 boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to new Alzheimer’s Association report

 New Report: 2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures (43 pages)

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease in the United States, according to their new report released today, the 2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.

The new report says the disease is poised to strike one out of eight baby boomers. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, now is the time to address this looming epidemic that currently has no effective disease-modifying treatments that halt or delay the progression of the disease.

Today, as many as 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which includes between 200,000-500,000 people under age 65 with young-onset Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Experts predict by 2010, there will be almost a half million new cases of Alzheimer’s disease each year; and by 2050, there will be almost a million new cases each year.

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.

“The information in the 2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures makes it clear the Alzheimer crisis cannot be ignored – not when 10 million baby boomers are at risk for developing this fatal disease. Unchecked, this disease will impose staggering consequences on families, the economy and the nation’s health and long-term care infrastructure,” says Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association.

According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2000-2005 death rates have declined for most major diseases heart disease (-8.6 percent), breast cancer (-.8 percent), prostate cancer (-4.9 percent) and stroke (-14.4 percent), while Alzheimer’s disease deaths continue to trend upward, increasing 45 percent during that period.

“We have the opportunity to change the trajectory of this disease now. Today’s scientific landscape is rich with possible disease-modifying treatments – but the shrinking investment in Alzheimer research threatens these breakthroughs,” Johns said. “There is real hope for a better future where Alzheimer’s is no longer a death sentence but how fast we get there depends on how much we are willing to invest today,” added Johns.

Medicare currently spends more than three times as much for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias than for the average Medicare beneficiary. In 2005, Medicare spent $91 billion on beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and is projected to spend $160 billion by 2010 and $189 billion by 2015. In 2005, state and federal Medicaid spending for nursing home and home care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias was estimated at $21 billion and is projected to increase to $24 billion in 2010 and $27 billion in 2015.
The new report also highlights the impact that Alzheimer’s has on states with more than 6 in 10 (62%) having double digit growth in prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease by the end of the decade. In addition, unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias provided care valued at more than $1 billion in each of 31 states, while unpaid caregivers in California, Florida, New York and Texas provided care valued at more than $4 billion per state.

 2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures (43 pages)


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.