Medically reviewed by William T. Hu, MD, PhD on May 29, 2018 — Written by Brandi Koskie and Whitney Akers
There are currently 5.7 million Americans and 47 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s. That’s expected to increase by 116 percent in high-income countries between 2015 and 2050, and as much as 264 percent in lower-middle and low-income countries during that time period.
Alzheimer’s is the costliest disease in the United States. Its annual raw expense is more than $270 billion but the toll it takes on patients and caregivers alike is incalculable. A substantial reason that Alzheimer’s doesn’t cost more is thanks to the 16.1 million unpaid caregivers who’ve taken on the management of their loved ones’ disease. This selfless task saves the nation more than $232 billion annually.
One in every 10 Americans aged 65 or older is living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. Two-thirds of those affected are women. The average life span after diagnosis for someone with Alzheimer’s is 4 to 8 years. However, depending on several factors, this could be as long as 20 years. As the disease progresses, each day presents more challenges, expenses, and strain on caregivers. These primary or secondary caregivers often take on the role for reasons that range from duty to cost.
Overwhelming and inconvenient truths of Alzheimer’s disease