2012 Presents and 2013 Resolutions Related to Alzheimer's Disease

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • The holidays as well as the end of 2012 are fast approaching.  It seems like only yesterday when we were contemplating what the New Year would bring. And in the world of Alzheimer’s, it did bring some exciting news in research, but no definitive breakthroughs.

    And that’s important to contemplate. Why you may ask? Well, I’d like to point you to a fact sheet released earlier this year by the Alzheimer’s Association that provided the latest information as well as projections related to this terrible disease.

    The fact sheet noted that in 2012, 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease; of those, 5.2 million are 65 years old and above while 200,000 are under the age of 65. That means that one in eight Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease while nearly half of people who are 85 and older have been diagnosed with this cognitive disease. And one American will develop Alzheimer’s disease every 68 seconds. However, by the year 2050, approximately 16 million will have the disease, which means that one American will develop this disease every 33 seconds.

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    Let’s look at what else was projected:

    • The direct cost of caregiving in relation to Alzheimer’s in 2012 was projected to cost an estimated $200 billion, which included $140 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. The additional costs include $33.8 billion for out-of-pocket as well as $26.2 billion defined as “other” costs.
    • The average per-person Medicare costs for people who have some form of dementia will be three times higher than people who don’t have these types of cognitive impairment.
    • The cost of Alzheimer’s is projected to cost $1.1 trillion in today’s dollars if a breakthrough isn’t found by 2050. Furthermore, to Medicare and Medicaid is projected to increase by nearly 500 percent.
    • Most people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease also have one or more serious medical condition. Thus, dementia often complicates how these other conditions are managed.
    • An elder who has both Alzheimer’s disease as well as diabetes will cost Medicare 81 percent more than an elder who only has diabetes.
    • An elder who has cancer as well as Alzheimer’s disease will cost Medicare 53 percent more than an elder who only has cancer.

    And let’s get a few more critical details from the report:

    • Approximately 800,000 people (or more than one in seven) who have Alzheimer’s actually live alone.
    • Of those, approximately 50 percent do not have an identifiable caregiver.
    • People who have dementia who live alone often are at higher risk for danger behaviors than people with the disease who do not live alone. These behaviors can lead to inadequate self-care, malnutrition, untreated medical conditions, wandering from home unattended, falls and accidental deaths.
    • Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased by 66 percent between 2000 and 2008. In comparison, death rates have sharply decline for breast cancer (-3 percent), prostate cancer (-8 percent), heart disease (-13 percent), stroke (-20 percent) and HIV (-29 percent) over the same time period.

    And Alzheimer’s doesn’t just impact the person who has this disease. The Alzheimer’s Association notes that more than 60 percent of caregivers for people with dementia rate the stress of caregiving as high or very high. Additionally, 33 percent describe symptoms of depression. These caregivers also had $8.7 billion in additional health care costs of their own in 2011.

  • So what are some things you can do to make a difference? Here are some suggestions:

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    • Make an end-of-year donation to an Alzheimer’s charity of your choice.
    • Volunteer at an Alzheimer’s facility. You can assist with lots of holiday events, whether it’s singing carols or decorating the hallways. Your help will be appreciated.
    • If you know a caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, offer to give them a break by staying with the loved one. You also can give them a Christmas present, such as a gift certificate to a movie theatre or a massage, which gives them a break from caregiving.
    • Make a New Year’s resolution to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Research is emerging that indicates that exercise and a healthy diet may be factors you can use to delay or prevent this disease. So until a cure is found, please take control of what you can in order to stop this disease.

    Primary Source for This Sharepost:

    Alzheimer’s Association. (2012). 2012 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures.

Published On: November 27, 2012