Who Is Affected by Alzheimer’s Disease?
Over 35 million people worldwide will eventually forget the names of their children, spouses and friends1. And those forgotten will witness with sadness and frustration as Alzheimer’s disease slowly steals away the loved one they once knew. Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias affect an alarming number of individuals across the globe, creating one of the most significant social and health crises of the 21st century. Here are the statistics behind the story:
- About 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, 96 percent of which are over the age of 65.2
- By age 85, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease reaches nearly 50 percent.2
- The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach between 11.3 and 16 million people by 2050.2
- An estimated 500,000 Canadians have Alzheimer’s disease, 86 percent of which are over the age of 65.3
- The risk for dementia doubles every five years after age 65.3
- Within a generation, the number of Canadians living with dementia will grow to around 1.1 million.3
- An estimated 35.6 million people live with dementia worldwide, a number that is projected to increase to 115.4 million by 2050.4
1. Alzheimer's Disease International World Alzheimer's Report (2011)
2. Alzheimer's Association Facts and Figures Report (2011)
3. Alzheimer Society of Canada (2010)
4. World Alzheimer's Report (2010)
Who Provides Alzheimer's Care?
It’s often helpful for caregivers to know they’re not alone. Given the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, many caregivers find themselves in situations similar to others, trying to balance work and family life while also caring for an aging parent or other relative.
- A typical Alzheimer’s family caregiver is a woman between 50 and 64 years of age and works full or part time.
- Most Alzheimer's caregivers (94 percent) are helping relatives. The most common caregiving relationship is between a parent or parent-in-law and child (62 percent).
- An estimated 10.9 million family members and friends provided unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia in 2009, each providing an average of 21.9 hours of care per week.
- Somewhere between 981,000 to 1.6 million caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are “long-distance caregivers,” living more than an hour away.
Source: Alzheimer's Association Facts and Figures (2010)
Impact on Caregivers
The demanding level of care required by someone with Alzheimer’s or related dementia takes its toll on a caregiver. The prolonged and progressive nature of Alzheimer’s, as well as the way memory loss and other dementia symptoms can cause an individual to need constant assistance and supervision, places enormous physical, emotional and psychological strain on the caregiver.
- Family and other unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are more likely than non-caregivers to report that their health is fair or poor. They are also more likely to say that caregiving made their health worse.1
- Reports of high or very high emotional stress come from 40 percent of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, compared to 28 percent of those caring for other older people.1
- An estimated 60 percent of caregivers work full or part time. Two-thirds of working caregivers have missed work because of caregiving responsibilities.1
- More than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high; one-third report symptoms of depression.2
- Family caregivers spent approximately 259 million hours caring for someone with dementia in 2010, a time commitment that will likely triple to 756 million hours by 2038.3
- Caregiving for a loved one with dementia places a considerable physical and psychological toll on family members; up to 75 percent could develop psychological illnesses; 15 to 32 percent suffer from depression.4
1. Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures (2010)
2. Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures (2011)
3. Alzheimer Society of Canada, Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society (2010)
4. Alzheimer Society of Canada (2010)
If dementia were a company, it would surpass Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as the world’s largest corporation by annual revenue. The health care costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias place a tremendous economic burden on individuals and society, and show no sign of letting up. As members of the baby boomer generation start entering their senior years, the number of people with dementia and their corresponding health care costs will dramatically increase.
- The costs of health care, long-term care and hospice combined equal $183 billion per year, and are expected to increase to 1.1 trillion per year by 2050.1
- The costs covering caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s, including lost productivity, absenteeism and worker replacement totaled $36.5 billion in 2002.2
- In 2010, the cost of dementia in Canada was estimated at $22 billion a year. This accounts for direct, indirect and opportunity costs associated with the provision of unpaid care.3
- Over the next 25 years, the cumulative economic cost of dementia is expected to exceed $872 billion.4
- The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia in 2010 were US$604 billion. If dementia were a company, it would be the world’s largest by annual revenue exceeding Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (US$414 billion) and Exxon Mobil (US$311 billion).5
1. Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures Report 2011
2. Alzheimer’s Association: Alzheimer’s Disease: The Costs to U.S. Businesses in 2002
3. Alzheimer Society of Canada (2010)
4. Alzheimer Society of Canada, Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society (2010)
5. Alzheimer’s Disease International: World Alzheimer Report 2010
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, the impacts of this disease on caregivers and the health system can receive some relief through the use of in home, non-medical care. Using paid care providers, like Home Instead CAREGiversSM, to supplement the family caregivers’ hard work and dedication can lead to improved caregiver health and can decrease overall health care cost. In fact, research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care® network has shown that seniors who benefit from paid caregiver services have fewer doctors’ visits and fewer hospitalizations.
Visit our Home Care section to learn more about our Alzheimer's and dementia care services.