Alzheimer's cost triple that of other elderly

Mar 24, 2009 By LINDSEY TANNER , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- The health care costs of Alzheimer's disease patients are more than triple those of other older people, and that doesn't even include the billions of hours of unpaid care from family members, a new report suggests.

Compared with people aged 65 and older without Alzheimer's, those with the mind-destroying disease are much more often hospitalized and treated in skilled-nursing centers. Their medical costs also often include nursing home care and Medicare-covered home health visits.

That all adds up to at least $33,007 in annual costs per patient, compared with $10,603 for an older person without Alzheimer's, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Alzheimer's Association.

The numbers are based on 2004 data and include average per-person , Medicaid and private insurance costs.

Costs likely have grown since then as the U.S population has aged and the number of Alzheimer's diagnoses has risen, said Angela Geiger, the Alzheimer's Association chief strategy officer.

According to the group's report, nearly 10 million caregivers - mostly family members - provided 8.5 billion hours of unpaid care for Alzheimer's patients last year.

"All of these statistics paint a really grim picture of what's going to happen ... unless we invest in solutions" to delay or prevent the disease, Geiger said.

This week a Senate committee will hear from an independent coalition of experts that has been working on a strategy for dealing with the growing Alzheimer's population.

An estimated 5.3 million Americans have the disease; by next year nearly half a million new cases will be diagnosed, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

As the disease progresses, people lose the ability to care for themselves and need help with eating, bathing, dressing and other daily activities. Eventually, they may need help with breathing and swallowing.

From 2000 to 2006, while deaths from , stroke, breast and prostate cancer declined, Alzheimer's deaths rose 47 percent.

Geiger said those trends reflect improved treatments for other diseases, while there are no treatments that can slow or prevent Alzheimer's.

---

On the Net:

Alzheimer's Association: http://www.alz.org

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: After Ebola, UN must prepare for next deadly outbreak: Ban

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Alzheimer's disease now 100 years old

Oct 30, 2006

Many of the world's Alzheimer's disease experts will be in Cleveland next week to observe the 100th anniversary of the first Alzheimer's disease diagnosis.

$6 million Alzheimer grant announced

Jun 04, 2007

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has awarded a $6 million grant for the continuation of a promising study into Alzheimer's disease treatments.

Seniors suffer from stereotyping

May 08, 2007

Seniors are being stereotyped as grouchy, inflexible types who live in nursing homes, when the opposite is true, a new University of Alberta report reveals.

Recommended for you

Ebola-infected Italian doctor 'recovering'

3 minutes ago

An Italian doctor who contracted Ebola in west Africa is recovering but is still in an isolation unit, the specialist clinic in Rome treating him said Monday.

Restrictions lifted at British bird flu farm

Dec 21, 2014

Britain on Sunday lifted all restrictions at a duck farm in northern England after last month's outbreak of H5N8 bird flu, the same strain seen in recent cases across Europe.

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

Dec 20, 2014

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.