Alzheimer’s Association Report reveals financial and human cost of disease

The Alzheimer’s Association released its annual report recently and the fast-growing disease brings with it some frightening new statistics.

Consider these:

  • Every 66 seconds someone will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s this year
  • This year total costs for caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients will hit $259 billion dollars
  • In 2016 families and loved ones of Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers performed 18.2 billion hours of unpaid work, estimated at approximately $230.1 billion.

Those are startling stats that make it clear the rise of Alzheimer’s and dementia has, and will continue, to stretch healthcare spending to its limits.

A CNN piece on the report quotes Harvard professor of neurology Rudy Tanzi who observes “Alzheimer’s consumes one in every five Medicare/Medicaid dollars. With 71 million baby boomers headed toward peak-risk age, this will hit one in three, perhaps in the next decade, at which point Alzheimer’s will single-handedly collapse Medicare/Medicaid.”

Tanzi goes on to explain that while there are promising avenues to explore in Alzheimer’s research, funding remains scarce. So a cure is not on the horizon.

Given that this is a worldwide issue one would hope that research would be a priority but it’s clearly not. It seems clear to me that research funding is a good investment if only because of the massive impact it’s going to have on the U.S. economy in the coming years.

Given the impact this looming crisis will have on my clients and for that matter, all of us, here’s hoping the search for a cure picks up soon.