Dementia Illnesses Taking Toll

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Dementia Illnesses Taking Toll on Families, Society

From Gary Freeman of the Home Instead Senior Care® office in Red Oak. TX

Q.    Dementia diseases like Alzheimer's seem to be on the upswing. I see more older adults in my community with these illnesses. In fact, my own 86-year-old mother has just been told by her doctor that she likely has Alzheimer's disease. I'm concerned about what to do next.

With so many aging individuals in the world, dementia illnesses are increasingly taking a toll on society in a variety of ways including financially and emotionally.

​In the last five years of life, total health care spending for people with dementia was more than a quarter-million dollars per person, some 57 percent greater than costs associated with death from other diseases, including cancer and heart disease. This analysis appeared earlier this year in the online issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The review estimates that total health care spending was $287,000 for those with probable dementia and $183,000 for other Medicare beneficiaries in the study.

The analysis was funded primarily by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Additional support was provided by the American Federation for Aging Research.

The researchers calculated costs from Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, out-of-pocket and informal care over the last five years of life. Specific categories of spending included insurance, hospital, physician, medication, nursing home, hired helpers, in-home medical care and other expenses.

While average Medicare expenditures across all four disease categories were similar, almost all other costs were consistently higher for people with dementia. For instance, Medicaid – the federal/state program that supports medical and long-term care for people with limited funds – expenditures for people who died with dementia averaged $35,346 versus $4,552 for those without dementia. For families, out-of-pocket spending for those with dementia was $61,522 compared with $34,068 for those without dementia.

Speak with your doctor about resources that could help your mother and consider contacting your local Alzheimer's Association. Your mother may need help to continue to remain independent for as long as possible.

Contact your local Home Instead Senior Care® office to determine how she might remain independent for as long as possible with services like companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and shopping.

For more information about your local Home Instead Senior Care office, contact <<Insert Franchise Owner's Full Name>> at <<Insert Telephone Number>> or go to To learn more about the research, visit

​Each Home Instead Senior Care® franchise office is independently owned and operated.​

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