New Alzheimer's report highlights cost of the disease - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Alzheimer's report highlights cost of the disease


CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)-The East Central Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association today released new statistics indicating that healthcare costs are more than three times higher for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias than for other people age 65 and over.

This new information comes from the Alzheimer's Association's 2009 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures.

In this new report, total healthcare costs are calculated as per person payments from all sources. Medicare payments alone are almost three times higher for people with Alzheimer's and dementia than for others over age 65; Medicaid payments alone are more than nine times higher.

"With an aging baby boomer population and the country facing unprecedented economic challenges, it is more important than ever the Alzheimer crisis be dealt with," said Kelly Hauer, the executive director of the Alzheimer's Association's East Central Iowa Chapter. "Alzheimer's impact on Iowa is not to be underestimated, with as many as 69,000 people living with the disease in 2010 and an estimated 77,000 living with the disease by 2025 - it is clear every effort must be made to address this disease now."

According to the report, there are 5.3 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease. Every 70 seconds someone in America develops the disease and by mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer's every 33 seconds.

People with Alzheimer's are high consumers of hospital, nursing home and other health and

long-term care services, which translates into high costs for Medicare, Medicaid and millions of families. As families struggle to survive in a deepening recession and states grapple with budget shortfalls, Alzheimer's disease threatens to overwhelm them both.

With family members providing care at home for about 70 percent of people with Alzheimer's disease, the ripple effects of Alzheimer's disease can be felt throughout the entire family unit. According to Facts and Figures, in 2008, nearly 10 million Alzheimer caregivers in the U.S. provided 8.5 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $94 billion. In Iowa alone, there were 96,292 caregivers, providing 83,119,307 hours of unpaid care for a loved one with Alzheimer's or another dementia valued at $922,624,309 dollars.

Implications for States

Alzheimer's is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, surpassing diabetes. The latest available data show that there were 1,082 deaths from Alzheimer's in Iowa. As deaths from other chronic conditions like heart disease and stroke continue to fall, more Iowa residents will live long enough to develop Alzheimer's disease with profound effects on families and state budgets. To plan for this rapidly growing problem, states need accurate and reliable information about the characteristics and needs of their residents who are coping with Alzheimer's and other dementia. An existing survey process is the most efficient way to obtain this information. The Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS) is an annual state public health survey done in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since 2003, some states have added questions about caregiving for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias in their BRFSS surveys. The new Facts and Figures report highlights the BRFSS survey findings from the states of Washington and North Carolina. The BRFSS survey allows residents to say for themselves what their challenges are.

Beginning this year, an approved set of family caregiving questions is available for all states to add to their BRFSS survey, and another set of questions on cognitive impairment is being developed for 2010. States that include these questions in the BRFSS surveys will have the information they need to develop and deliver essential services to the growing number of families coping with Alzheimer's and other dementias.

The full text of the Alzheimer's Association's 2009 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures can be viewed at

The Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit

Online Reporter:  Ron Steele



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