Today, 5.3 million people are living with Alzheimer’s—every 70 seconds, someone develops the disease.
Some 5.1 million people with Alzheimer’s are age 65 and older, but an estimated 500,000 people younger than age 65 either have Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 percent to 80 percent of cases.
Vascular dementia (also called multi-infarct dementia, post-stroke dementia, or vascular cognitive impairment) is considered the second most common type after Alzheimer’s.
In 2000, an estimated 411,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s were diagnosed. That number was expected to increase to 454,000 new cases a year by 2010; 615,000 annually by 2030; and 959,000 new cases a year by 2050. By that year, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s could be as high as 13.5 million unless researchers find a way to prevent or treat the disease.
In 2006, Alzheimer’s was listed as the “underlying cause of death” for 72,432 Americans. In 1991, only 14,112 death certificates recorded Alzheimer’s as the underlying cause. This increase could be due to reporting changes and an increase in actual Alzheimer’s deaths. From 2000-2006, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 46.1 percent, while the number one cause of death, heart disease, decreased by 11.1 percent.
In 2006, Alzheimer’s was the seventh leading cause of death for people of all ages and the fifth in people age 65 and older.
Some 70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias live at home, where they are cared for by family and friends.
In 2009, nearly 11 million family members and friends provided an average of 21.9 hours of unpaid care per week for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, for a total of about 12.5 billion hours of care. That year, the estimated economic value of the unpaid care was $144 billion.
About 60 percent of family and other unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are women.
People with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are high users of health care, long-term care and hospice. Total payments for these types of care from all sources, including Medicare and Medicaid, are three times higher for older people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias than for other older people. Based on the average per person payments from all sources for health care and long-term care services for people aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in 2004, total payments for 2010 are expected to be $172 billion, including $123 billion for Medicare and Medicaid.