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How Dementia's Financial Costs Take a Toll on Families

Written by Alissa Sauer
 about the author
4 minute readLast updated April 21, 2023

It’s no secret that Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia bring emotional hardship to families and their loved ones. But, the Alzheimer’s Association — who surveyed 3,500 caregivers in the United States — found that dementia’s financial costs also take a toll on families, bringing an insufferable financial burden to many family members. Take a closer look at the findings from the survey and learn how these findings may impact future financing options.

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How dementia’s cost impacts families

report from the Alzheimer’s Association found startling evidence of dementia’s financial and emotional burden on family caregivers and the U.S. health care system. By 2050, the total cost of Alzheimer’s and dementia care is estimated to be more than $1.1 trillion.
Keith Fargo, Ph.D and Director of Scientific Programs and Outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association, says the report demonstrates this impact stating, “This year’s report illuminates the growing cost and impact of Alzheimer’s on the nation’s health care system and also points to the growing emotional, financial and physical toll on families facing this disease.”
Fargo adds, “Soaring prevalence, rising mortality rates, and lack of an effective treatment all lead to enormous costs to society. Alzheimer’s disease is a burden that’s only going to get worse. We must continue to attack Alzheimer’s through a multidimensional approach that advances research while also improving support for people with the disease and their caregivers.”
The survey was based on the responses of over 3,500 Americans who were contributing to the care of someone with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
Key findings of the report included the following:
  • In 2017, 18.4 billion hours of care, valued at $232 billion, were provided by family and unpaid caregivers.
  • 83% of the help provided to older adults in the U.S. come from family members, friends, and other unpaid caregivers.
  • The total lifetime cost of care for someone with dementia is estimated to be $341,840, with the costs associated with family care to be 70% of lifetime dementia care costs.
  • 41% of dementia caregivers have a household income of $50,000 or less.

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Why dementia needs to be a national priority

The report also found that mortality from Alzheimer’s and related dementias is rising, increasing 123% between 2000-2015 and details why dementia needs to become a national priority.
The report states that an early diagnosis could save the U.S. as much as $7.9 trillion over the lifetime of all living Americans.
“Discoveries in science mean fewer people are dying at an early age from cancer, heart disease, and other diseases,” said Fargo. “Similar scientific breakthroughs are needed for Alzheimer’s and will only be achieved by making it a national health care priority and increasing funding for research that can one day lead to early detection, better treatments, and ultimately a cure.”

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Meet the Author
Alissa Sauer

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