New Report from Alzheimer’s Association Offers “Sobering Statistics” on Disease

March 8, 2012

The 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released today from the Alzheimer’s Association reveals the alarming health and economic toll of the disease – the cost of caring for the 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease today will total $200 billion in 2012.  And with 5.2 million of that number age 65 and older, our already overburdened Medicare and Medicaid systems will carry about 70 percent of those costs. 

The report also illustrates that the debilitation and devastation of this disease affect not only those with the disease, but their family caregivers as well.  There are 15.2 million family members and friends who provide 17.2 billion hours of unpaid care per year, amounting to an economic value of $210 billion.

Brief findings of the report include:

  • 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease today, but that number will swell to as many as 16 million in 2050.  
  • One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer's disease.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
  • More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer's and other dementias
  • Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012.

Even without a cure, there is still much that can be done to better help those affected by Alzheimer’s disease today – patients and their family caregivers – and the millions of others who will be diagnosed in the years ahead.  The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease feels that today’s report only underscores the urgent need to confront Alzheimer’s disease as the public health crisis it is, and aggressively support medical innovation to help combat this epidemic that will claim the lives of one in every eight Baby Boomers.