Alzheimer's Blog

Facts About Alzheimer’s

  • shutterstock_195507.jpgMore than 4.5 million Americans are believed to have Alzheimer’s disease and by 2050, the number could increase to 13.2 million.

  • Approximately 65,800 victims die and 350,000 new cases of Alzheimer's disease are diagnosed each year.
  • It is estimated that there are currently 18 million people worldwide with Alzheimer’s disease. This figure is projected to nearly double by 2025 to 34 million people.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among people age 65 and older.
  • Alzheimer’s disease usually begins after age 60 and risk increases with age. Younger people, in their 40s and 50s, may get Alzheimer’s disease but it is less common.
  • Up to 10 percent of all cases of Alzheimer’s disease are believed to be familial (hereditary). In familial cases, often called early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, symptoms can appear as early as age 40.
  • Approximately 5 percent of Americans between the ages of 65 to 74, and almost half of those 85 years and older suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Approximately 4 million Americans are age 85 years or older, and this age group is one of the fastest growing segments of the population. It is also the group with the highest risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that at least 19 million people will be age 85 and older by the year 2050.
  • Common symptoms include: disturbances in memory, attention, and orientation, changes in personality, language difficulties, and impairments in gait and movement.
  • On average, patients with Alzheimer’s disease live for 8 to 10 years after they are diagnosed. It can last as long as 20 years, and always ends in death.
  • The only way to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease is to physically examine the brain of a probable Alzheimer’s sufferer after the patient has died.
  • Slightly more than half of Alzheimer’s disease patients receive care at home.
  • In terms of health care expenses and lost wages of both patients and their caregivers, the cost of Alzheimer's disease nationwide is a staggering $80 to $100 billion per year.
  • More than half of all nursing home residents have Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder.
  • The average hourly rate for home health aides is $19.
  • The average annual cost for an assisted living facility is $34,860. |
  • The average daily cost of a private room in a nursing home is $203, which calculates to $74,095 per year.
  • The yearly cost of caring for one Alzheimer's patient is between $18,400 and $36,100, depending how advanced the disease is.
  • The average cost for the illness from diagnosis to death is $174,000, the third most expensive disease in the United States.
  • The care of an Alzheimer’s patient, viewed as custodial care, is not covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans.

The 2005 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home & Home Care Costs and the 2005 MetLife Market Survey of Assisted Living Costs reports provided statistics on the expenses associated with home health aides, nursing homes and assisting living facilities. The remaining information was obtained from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center, the World Health Organization, the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Institute on Aging, the FDA, and the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics). It should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified health care professional and is not intended to constitute medical advice.

Reprinted with permission from the American Health Assistance Foundation Spring 2007