New Report: Alzheimer's Is Fixing to Lay the Boom on U.S. Baby Boomers

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Since the first wave of baby boomers is turning 65, the alarms about the coming tsunami of Alzheimer’s are starting to sound.

    “Today, 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. But it’s only going to get worse – and fast. By 2030, the U.S. population aged 65 an over is expected to double, meaning there will be more and more Americans with Alzheimer’s – as many as 16 million by mid-century, when there will be nearly 1 million new cases every year,” states Generation Alzheimer’s: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers, a new report by the Alzheimer’s Association. “For many baby boomers, Alzheimer’s was a disease they saw in their parents or grandparents. Not anymore. Alzheimer’s disease is now their disease, their crisis, their epidemic.”

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    Several interesting – and very scary – facts are stated in the report, including:

    • Of the 5.3 million Americans who currently have Alzheimer’s, 5.1 million are age 65 and older.
    • One in eight Americans who are age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s. That number increases to nearly one in two for Americans age 85 and older.
    • Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s ever 70 second. And by 2050, an American will develop Alzheimer’s disease every 33 seconds.
    • The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s could reach 16 million in 2050.
    • It is projected that 10 million baby boomers will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

    The report also shares truths about Alzheimer’s that Boomers may not realize, including:

    • “An individual will live with the increasingly devastating, debilitating and destructive effects of Alzheimer’s for many years.”
    • “Most people survive an average of four to six years after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s – but many live for as long as 20 years with the disease.”
    • “On average, 40 percent of a person’s years with Alzheimer’s are spent in the most severe stage of the disease – longer than any other stage.”
    • “By age 80, 4 percent of Americans enter a nursing home. For people with Alzheimer’s, 75 percent end up in a nursing home by age 80.”

    While death rates for other major diseases such as stroke, heart disease and breast cancer have declined, the rate for Alzheimer’s disease is “skyrocketing,” according to the report. Additionally, Alzheimer’s disease is the only one of the top 10 causes of death in which a way to prevent, cure or slow the disease has not been discovered Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Unfortunately, at this point no one survives Alzheimer’s disease. The report notes that:

    • There’s been a 66 percent increase in the number of Americans who die annually from Alzheimer’s since 2000.
    • Alzheimer’s kills more Americans each year than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.
    • A key reason why death rates for other diseases have decreased is government’s commitment to funding research.

    Caregivers also suffer when taking care of a loved one with this disease through not only the impact on the loved one, but the toll the disease places on the caregiver. Many caregivers lose jobs and savings, suffer from poor health, and even die due to the strain they are put under. The report provides the following facts:

    • Nearly 11 million Americans provided 12.5 billion of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s in 2009.
    • The value of this unpaid care was approximately $144 billion in 2009, which was more than what was spent by Medicare and Medicaid combined on those with Alzheimer’s.
    • Thirty-three percent of these caregivers have provided care for five years or more.
    • Sixty-six percent of the caregivers rated their emotional stress as high or very high.

    Hopefully, this report will get the attention of Baby Boomers. Unfortunately, if they don’t realize what is coming, they may be swept away in the Alzheimer’s tidal wave.

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Published On: February 06, 2011