Alzheimer’s Numbers and Caregiver Burden Soar

Older adults are living longer and with an aging Baby Boomer population, the proportion of elderly seniors in the population is expected to swell over the next 20 to 30 years.  According to the American Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to double by 2050, affecting an estimated 13 million people.  Not only is the cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patients expected to soar, but with a shortage of personal care workers, the burden on family caregivers will also grow. 

The cost of caring for people with dementia-related problems in the U.S. rose to $345 billion in 2023, up from $24 billion in 2022, according to a new Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report.  Today more than 1 in 9 American seniors is living with Alzheimer’s disease, and although there is no cure, there is a new class of treatments for early-stage Alzheimer’s. 

Despite progress in treating A.D., many older adults are reluctant to discuss memory problems or other cognitive concerns with their doctor, chalking many symptoms up to the natural effects of aging.  Clinicians and patients who are able to have open and direct conversations about cognitive changes can help assure seniors get treatments early when they will offer the greatest benefit. 

According to a recent CNN Health article, there has also been a shortage of geriatricians for more than a decade and to care for the anticipated number of seniors living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2050, the tally of practicing geriatricians would need to nearly triple.  Yet few young doctors are choosing geriatric medicine as a specialty. 

Informal, or unpaid caregiving, is often carried out by family members – many of whom are also older adults with their own health issues.  Family caregivers can experience increased stress, depression, and anxiety and suffer as a result of the financial burden of caring for a loved one with the complex issues of Alzheimer’s disease.  Learn more about planning for care costs by following this link to the Alzheimer’s Association website.