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With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Date:3/24/2009

Experts urge greater investment in research to stem 'crippling' expenses

TUESDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- In a new report, the Alzheimer's Association estimates that Alzheimer's disease and dementia triple the health-care costs for afflicted seniors.

In addition, people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities pay an average of $16,689 in out-of-pocket costs each year, researchers found. The association also estimates that nearly 10 million unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease spent 8.5 billion hours in 2008 watching over their loved ones, care valued at an estimated $94 billion.

"These health-care costs are crippling, not just to society at large but to families and individuals," said Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer with the Alzheimer's Association, which released the report Tuesday.

About 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, according to the association's Facts and Figures report for 2009. The number includes about 14 percent of people aged 71 and older.

The report finds that:

  • The average annual health-care cost for someone older than 65 with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia was $33,007 in 2004 -- three times more than the $10,603 for people that age without the conditions.
  • Deaths from Alzheimer's disease rose by 47 percent from 2000 to 2006 while the number of deaths from several other major diseases -- including heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and prostate cancer -- fell during that period.
  • States in the Rocky Mountains and Northwest will see the number of people with Alzheimer's disease increase by at least 81 percent between 2000 and 2025.
  • By 2025, California and Florida will each be home to more than a half-million people with Alzheimer's disease.

"The bottom line is that we are an aging society, and if we don't find a cure to delay or halt the disease, we are
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