The Cost of Caring For Alzheimer’s and Dementia

  • July 12, 2013
The Cost of Caring For Alzheimer’s and Dementia

There are more than 65 million people in the U.S. caring for a sick, disabled or elderly loved one, according to The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. A study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s will more than double over the next 30 years. The study, led by the RAND Corp. and the University of Michigan, estimated that nearly 15 percent of those over 70 (about 3.8 million people) now have dementia. By 2040, that number is estimated to rise to 9.1 million. And of course, with more people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s there will be an increase in cost. The study found $109 billion was spent in 2010 for Alzheimer’s disease, compared to $102 billion spent on heart disease and $72 billion spent on cancer care. By 2040, Alzheimer’s care could boast a price tag of $300 billion a year nationally. According to the Alzheimer’s Association (, common costs of care include:

  • Ongoing medical treatment for Alzheimer’s-related symptoms, diagnosis and follow-up visits
  • Treatment or medical equipment for other medical conditions
  • Safety-related expenses, such as home safety modifications or safety services for a person who wanders
  • Prescription drugs
  • Personal care supplies
  • Adult day care services
  • In-home care services
  • Full-time residential care services

According to The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s, the average cost of care for an Alzheimer’s patient is $56,800 per year. Sixty percent of that average cost — $34,500 per year — is covered by caregivers and the rest of the family themselves. 56 percent of caregivers say that a loved one’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease has greatly strained their family finances. If a patient lives independently or with an informal caregiver, the family only pays about $850 a year in related costs. But once that loved one is moved to an assisted living facility, the families’ costs skyrocket to $20,535 per year, according to the Shriver Report. In addition the emotional distress you encounter as a Caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, the financial stress of care can affect your relationships, physical well-being and mental health. It’s important to utilize all of the resources available to you--after all, it takes a village. Best Websites for Caregivers: Finding Local Resources: Emotional Resources: Communication and Behavioral Resources: Legal and Financial Planning: Choosing Long Term Care:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Medical Guardian is a leading provider of innovative medical alert systems that empower people to live a life without limits.

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