NewsNational NewsScripps News

Actions

US cost of Alzheimer's care projected to rise by $15 billion in 2024

An estimated nearly 7 million seniors aged 65 and older in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer's dementia, says a report.
US cost of Alzheimer's care projected to rise by $15 billion in 2024
Posted at 10:19 AM, Mar 20, 2024

In a new report from the Alzheimer's Association, the national cost for caring for Alzheimer's patients is expected to increase by $15 billion in 2024, totaling $360 billion. About 70% of caregivers say they stress over coordinating care, with most health care workers surveyed saying the system isn't doing enough to help.  

Dan Goerke knows the energy and cost of caregiving. He was the primary caregiver for his wife, Denise. She passed away from Alzheimer's at 63.  

"She loved everything from climbing to hiking, camping. All of a sudden, we had the expenses, high expenses, of her care. So it completely changed the financial aspect of it. It put a lot of stress that I wasn't quite prepared for on me," Goerke told Scripps News.   

He described his caregiver experience, something he now is more prepared for. He is now the secondary caregiver for his brother who lives in Indiana.   

“When you're a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's, you have to completely handle the scheduling for everything — from appointments, to who's picking her up to go where, to prescriptions. You handle all the prescriptions. You're all of a sudden a doctor and a pharmacist." 

An estimated nearly 7 million seniors aged 65 and older in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer's dementia, the report says. And because the disease worsens over time, the impact on caregivers will continue to grow. 

Nearly 11.5 million caregivers put in about 18.4 billion hours of unpaid help — about 31 hours per caregiver, per week, according to the Alzheimer's Association. 

"It's a complex disease that increases over time and becomes more costly, but we also have more people who are going to be diagnosed as the population ages," said Sam Fazio, psychosocial research and quality care senior director at the Alzheimer’s Association.  Last summer, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid announced a new model called "Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience," or GUIDE.   

“The GUIDE Model will focus on dementia care management and aims to improve quality of life for people living with dementia, reduce strain on their unpaid caregivers, and enable people living with dementia to remain in their homes and communities,” the CMS page says. 

GUIDE launches on July 1, 2024 and is planned to run for eight years. 

As for Goerke, his advice for others in a role similar to his, is to get help.  

“This is a disease like no other,” he told Scripps News. “It is devastating in so many ways. [It’s] time and emotionally expensive. You just should not do this alone.”  

SEE MORE: Picking your nose may increase risk of Alzheimer's disease, study says


Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com