States Where Alzheimer’s Is Soaring

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40. West Virginia
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 18.9%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 11.0% (17th lowest)
> Population 65+: 18.2% (3rd highest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 65.6% (3rd lowest)
> Avg. retirement income: $17,113 (the lowest)

In West Virginia, 620 people died from Alzheimer’s disease in 2014. At approximately 33.5 deaths per 100,000 state residents, mortality from the disease is one of the highest compared with other states.

Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects elderly and retired populations, and treatment can be very expensive. West Virginia has the third largest elderly population, at 18.2% of residents, and the lowest average retirement income of all states, at $17,113.

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39. Ohio
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 19.0%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 11.4% (24th lowest)
> Population 65+: 15.8% (17th highest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 75.5% (20th lowest)
> Avg. retirement income: $23,577 (25th highest)

The number of people with Alzheimer’s in Ohio is predicted to rise by 19% over the next eight years. Like every other state, Ohio’s Medicaid costs for elderly Alzheimer’s patients will increase considerably, but the projected increase of 27.2% is much lower than the expected increase nationwide of 37.1%.

The Cleveland Clinic, which does an annual analysis of Alzheimer’s disease drug development, said in June that unless the drug development process speeds up, the United States will likely not meet by 2025 the Alzheimer’s treatment goals laid out by the Obama administration.

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38. Kansas
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 19.2%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 12.2% (12th highest)
> Population 65+: 14.6% (16th lowest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 76.2% (24th lowest)
> Avg. retirement income: $20,990 (6th lowest)

Just as the number of people with Alzheimer’s in Kansas is expected to increase at a slower than average rate, cost increases are expected to keep pace with the nation. The state’s Medicaid costs to care for those with Alzheimer’s is forecast to rise at a slightly lower than average rate of 30.7%

Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects the elderly and retired. The average annual retirement income in Kansas is only about $21,000, well below most states. The value of unpaid Alzheimer’s care in the state in 2016, primarily from friends and family members, topped $2 billion.

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37. Oklahoma
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 20.6%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 10.9% (15th lowest)
> Population 65+: 14.7% (20th lowest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 69.7% (8th lowest)
> Avg. retirement income: $21,168 (9th lowest)

Alzheimer’s disease claimed 1,227 lives in Oklahoma in 2014, a 92% increase in Alzheimer’s deaths since 2000. The mortality rate that year, at 31.6 deaths for every 100,000 state residents, was higher than the national rate of 29.3 per 100,000 people. Absent a major treatment breakthrough, that number will only continue to climb as the number of Alzheimer’s patients in the state is projected to increase by over 20% in the next eight years.

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36. Nebraska
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 21.2%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 11.8% (16th highest)
> Population 65+: 14.7% (18th lowest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 79.5% (9th highest)
> Avg. retirement income: $22,322 (18th lowest)

With 515 deaths from Alzheimer’s in Nebraska in 2014, the disease was the sixth leading cause of death in the state that year. Alzheimer’s patients are typically elderly and require living assistance. In Nebraska, nearly 30% of the 65 and older population live alone, one of the largest shares of any state.