Research dollars remain key to turning the numbers around, she said. "We really need to focus on Alzheimer's," she said. "We need more of an investment in Alzheimer's disease."
The report found that payments for health and long-term care services for people with Alzheimer's will total $172 billion this year.
In addition, Medicare costs for Alzheimer's patients are almost three times higher than for other older people, and Medicaid costs are almost nine times higher, the report found.
Many people with Alzheimer's also have one or more other medical conditions, such as diabetes or coronary heart disease, making their care even more expensive.
Yet far less is spent on Alzheimer's research than on other diseases.
In fact, "for every $25,000 the government spends on care for people with Alzheimer's and dementia, it spends only $100 for Alzheimer research," the report said.
According to Cole, "this new report details how the long predicted 'epidemic' rise in Alzheimer's disease and other dementia is already upon us."
The report also sounds the alarm that the situation may get worse before it gets better.
"We hope to have better treatments, but cures are unlikely," Cole said. "The only cost-effective answer we can realistically try to achieve is an effective prevention program," he said.
There's more on Alzheimer's disease at the Alzheimer's Association.
SOURCES: Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., senior director, medical and scientific relations; Robert J. Egge, vice president, public policy and advocacy, both of the Alzheimer's Association; Greg M. Cole, Ph.D., neuroscientist, Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, and associate director, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles; March
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