This morning I attended a panel discussion here in Washington, D.C. called "Why Are So Many People With Alzheimer's Disease Still Undiagnosed?" - where a panel of world renowned doctors, researchers, and Alzheimer's advocates discussed the importance of screening the elderly for Alzheimer's.
Here are some shocking numbers mentioned by the panel:
- Currenly there are 60,000 people in America over the age of 100. That number will be 1,000,000 by 2015.
Considering that 50% of people over the age of 85 have Alzheimer's disease, these numbers indicate that we will be seeing more and more cases of Alzheimer's in the near future.
- In 2005, Medicare spent $91 billion on Alzheimer's patients, and Medicaid spent $21 billion on nursing home care.
- In 2015, Medicare costs are projected at $189 billion and Medicaid at $27 billion.
- Alzheimer's is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.
- Caregivers provided unpaid work valued at $83 billion in 2005.
- Despite being heavily burdened, 47% of caregivers did not use any paid help in the past year. (Click here to learn about respite care).
In addition to the panelists presentations on the importance of screening, and what the future holds for Alzheimer's in this country, they released a consensus statement, encouraging those 65 and older to request memory screening during routine physical examinations. The more people are screened for this disease, the more often it will be diagnosed, and TREATED in this country.
Dr. Paul Solomon, a panelist and Clinical Director of the Memory Clinic in Bennington, VT said in the press release, "...given our burgeoning senior population, and consequently an increase in the number of people with Alzheimer's, as well as the immense costs to society, it is time to move the debate (over Alzheimer's screening) toward action."
For more information about Alzheimer's screening, you can go to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's Screening Site, our check out Memories To Treasure to find out about screening centers in your area.
Published On: November 08, 2007