While the death rate in the United States for HIV, heart disease, and stroke have all decreased in the last 14 years, the death rate from Alzheimer’s disease has increased by 89 percent. In 2014, the death rate for Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. among those aged 45 to 54 years was .2 per 100,000 population. Alzheimer’s prevalence and death rates increase greatly with age however, with the death rate that same year among those aged 75 to 84 reaching 185.6 per 100,000 population. Although there is currently no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a number of drugs are developed each year in an attempt to ease the burden of such diseases.
Similar to the global costs of dementia, the cost of Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. is substantial. In 2017, it was estimated that the cost of care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease to Medicare and Medicaid was 175 billion dollars, with this figure predicted to increase to some 758 billion by 2050. Out-of-pocket costs for older people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are also significant, reaching a total of 56 billion dollars between 2011 and 2017. The presence of Alzheimer’s or other dementias increases the annual mean payment per Medicare beneficiary among those aged 65 years and older in a number of care settings including inpatient hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and home health care.
Caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias is not only expensive, but can be extremely trying and stressful for caregivers. In 2016, there were almost 16 million caregivers for patients with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, with around 1.6 million in the state of California alone. A recent survey of such caregivers found that 59 percent reported high to very high emotional stress from caregiving, while 38 percent reported high to very high physical stress.