Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth-leading cause of death for individuals ages 65 and older.
The number of Americans ages 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease is projected to increase from 5.1 million, or 11 percent of the population, in 2015 to 13.5 million, or 16 percent of the population, in 2050, according to a new report.
The Alzheimer’s Association study, conducted by researchers at the Lewin Group, a health care policy research consulting firm, projects the costs to all payers for the care of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050 from $226 billion this year. Medicare and Medicaid costs will increase from 68 percent of the costs to nearly 70 percent of the total.
One in five Medicare dollars, or 18 percent, will be spent on people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias this year. Costs are forecast to increase more than 420 percent, from $113 billion this year to $589 billion in 2050. This is projected to represent nearly one in three Medicare dollars.
Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth-leading cause of death for individuals ages 65 and older, the report states. Barring a treatment breakthrough, it is expected that millions of Baby Boomers will spend their retirement years either living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who has it.
Health issues are nearly as much a concern to Main Street non-Millionaire households with a net worth of at least $100,000 (not including primary residence) as is maintaining their current financial position, according to a 2015 Spectrem Group wealth level study. More than half (54 percent) are concerned about spending their final years in a car facility while 47 percent are concerned about having someone to care for them in their old age.
Half indicate they are concerned about taking responsibility for their aging parents. Of these, 54 percent are between the ages of 45-54.
The Alzheimer’s Association report advocates “substantial investments to advance research and develop an effective treatment by 2025.” A treatment that delays the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years, the report concludes, would bring an estimated $935 billion in savings in just the first 10 years.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.