BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The constantly increasing numbers of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease puts America to exhaustingly high costs. The Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report revealed a cost of $259 billion only last year for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
This represents the highest cost ever registered for Alzheimer’s disease, without including the value of caregiving that was not paid for. The costs for Medicaid and Medicare make up around $175 billion, which is more than half of the entire value of expenses.
Ruth Drew is the director of family and information services at the Alzheimer’s Association. She said that the increasing number of cases of Alzheimer’s is directly link to the number of old people. As baby boomers are quite a big part of the American population, they continuously reach the age of risk.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can cure the disease. If no cure or at least treatments to alter the disease are found by 2050, the costs will reach the shocking number of $1.1 trillion. This will not only affect the families that have to take care of their ill relatives, but also our health system.
The report says that the annual costs for people suffering from Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia are almost five times higher than those for the people without these conditions, namely $10,315 compared to $2,232.
However, the monetary expenses are only one part of the problem. The caregivers that have to look after these people reported that their own mental health was affected. Although they also have some positive feelings towards caregiving, such as the satisfaction that they can help their loved ones, they also registered high levels of stress.
The report shows the following figures. Around 59 percent of those who take care of an Alzheimer’s patient report that they are experiencing high levels of emotional stress. Around 30 or 40 percent of the caregivers struggle with depression, which becomes worse as dementia becomes worse. Also, 44 percent of them also have acute feelings of anxiety.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. From all other causes, this is the only one that can be prevented or slowed, so caregivers might have to provide care to dementia patients for four to eight years, but the timespan can even expand to 15 or 20 years.
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