Alzheimer’s Care to Exceed $20 Trillion in Next 40 Years

A report from the Alzheimer‰Ûªs Association, ‰ÛÏChanging the Trajectory of Alzheimer‰Ûªs Disease: A National Imperative‰Û shows that the cumulative costs of care for people with Alzheimer‰Ûªs from 2010 to 2050 will exceed $20 trillion, in today‰Ûªs dollars. The report also shows that the number of Americans age 65 and older who have this condition will increase from the 5.1 million today to 13.5 million by mid-century.

Total costs of care for individuals with Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease by all payers will soar from $172 billion in 2010 to more than $1 trillion in 2050, with Medicare costs increasing more than 600 percent, from $88 billion today to $627 billion in 2050. During the same time period, Medicaid costs will soar 400 percent, from $34 billion to $178 billion. One factor driving the exploding costs by 2050 is that nearly half (48 percent) of the projected 13.5 million people with Alzheimer‰Ûªs will be in the severe stage of the disease ‰ÛÒ when more expensive, intensive around-the-clock care is often necessary.

A treatment breakthrough that delays the onset of Alzheimer‰Ûªs by five years ‰ÛÒ similar, perhaps, to the effect of anti-cholesterol drugs on preventing heart disease ‰ÛÒ would result in an immediate and long-lasting reduction in the number of Americans with this condition and the cost of their care. A breakthrough that delays onset by five years and begins to show its effect in 2015 would decrease the total number of Americans age 65 and older with Alzheimer‰Ûªs from 5.6 million to 4 million in 2020.

The Alzheimer’s Association is calling for ramped up efforts and intense investment in research for the disease.