A new report finds the number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease in Nebraska is growing rapidly, as is the cost of care.
Greg Woods, a program specialist with the Alzheimer’s Association, says the annual report isn’t very encouraging as there’s still no effective treatment and no cure.
“This year, we looked at three main things,” Woods says, “the prevalance and incidence of the disease, so how common is it, we looked at the cost of care and we looked at the effect of caregiving, as well.”
Alzheimer’s deaths have more than doubled in the last 15 years while deaths from other major illnesses and medical conditions, like heart disease, have significantly decreased. The report finds about 5.7-million people nationwide are now living with Alzheimer’s, while the figure in Nebraska is about 34,000 and both numbers are escalating.
“By 2025, the number of people aged 65 and older is expected to reach 7.1-million, that’s an increase of almost 29% from this year,” Woods says.
“We know that Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and that is interesting to some people because they don’t often think of it as an actual cause of death,” Woods says.
The national cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s is projected to surpass a quarter-trillion dollars ($277 billion) this year, an increase of nearly $20-billion since last year.
In Nebraska, the Medicaid costs to care for people with Alzheimer’s are expected to reach $347-million this year. The cost is expected to grow by nearly 16% by 2025 to $404-million.
In Nebraska, 82,000 caregivers provided a total of 94-million hours of unpaid care for Alzheimer’s patients, valued at $1.2-billion.
The difficulties associated with providing that care are estimated to have resulted in $61-million in additional healthcare costs for caregivers last year.