Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that starts slow but develops into a merciless illness. First signs are forgetting trifle things such as doctor’s appointments. These are related to short-term memory loss. However, things can degenerate into the loss of self-care capability, problems with speech, behavioral issues, and disorientation. Ultimately, many patients lose their bodily functions which leads to death. The illness usually occurs later in life and incapacitates the victim for a long period of time. A new report reveals the impact of such a disease on unpaid caregivers.
The Alzheimer’s Association has released a new report on Tuesday. The paper is called the 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. According to this document, the costs of caring for Alzheimer’s patients imploded to a total of $259 million a year. This sum covers health care costs, long-term assistance, and hospitalization. There are around 5.5 million Americans who have this disease or another type of dementia. Out of these, there are even 200,000 cases of patients younger than 65.
The research has also documented the evolution of the disease in the future. For instance, Iowa recorded a number of 64,000 citizens age 65 or older that have this illness. However, the number is expected not to back down but increase to 66,000 in 2020 and 73,000 by 2025. The Alzheimer’s Association noted that this disease is the sixth most vicious cause of death among Americans. It also represents the only illness out of the ten largest causes of death that has no viable cure at this moment.
Nonetheless, the study focused on the unpaid caregivers’ situation as well. In most cases, the families of the patients have to rely on help all the time. As a professional employee is expensive and cannot offer 24/7 support, usually the spouse or another close relative has to attend to the patient’s needs. Thus, they become unpaid caregivers.
The report showed that there were 15 million family members involved in the care process and they are valued at $230.1 billion. However, patients required extensive medical care valued at $259 billion. Moreover, unpaid caregivers spent 18.2 billion hours in a year to help their ill family members or loved ones. Another set of findings indicated that seniors with dementia have to spend $10,315 on average annually. By comparison, seniors with no signs of dementia need only $2,232 on average a year.
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