States Where Alzheimer’s Is Soaring

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20. Minnesota
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 30.4%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 11.4% (25th lowest)
> Population 65+: 14.7% (17th lowest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 80.2% (6th highest)
> Avg. retirement income: $22,786 (23rd lowest)

Alzheimer’s disease was the sixth leading cause of death in Minnesota, claiming 1,628 lives in 2014. The number of people with the disease is projected to climb 30.4%, from 92,000 in 2017 to 120,000 in 2025. Medicaid costs related to treating the disease among the state’s elderly population are projected to increase by 35.1%, from $781 million to more than $1 billion over the same period. The increase is still below the national average increase in Medicaid spending projection of 37.1%.

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19. North Carolina
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 31.3%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 10.6% (8th lowest)
> Population 65+: 15.1% (24th lowest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 70.8% (9th lowest)
> Avg. retirement income: $22,797 (24th lowest)

There are about 459,000 Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in North Carolina, or three for every one Alzheimer’s patient. In addition, friends and family members of those afflicted with the disease in the state put in over 520 million hours of unpaid care in 2016 alone. North Carolina has a rapidly growing elderly population, and partially as a result, state lawmakers implemented policies in 2016 to benefit elderly residents with the disease as well as their caregivers.

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18. Oregon
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 33.3%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 9.5% (the lowest)
> Population 65+: 16.4% (11th highest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 77.8% (17th highest)
> Avg. retirement income: $25,598 (18th highest)

The estimated annual Medicaid costs for caring for people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease in Oregon are currently $222 million. Costs are projected to climb 38.6% by 2025 — inline with the average increase expected nationally. In April, researchers at Oregon State University said they found that a compound called rapamycin could help fight neurologic damage caused by such diseases as Alzheimer’s.

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17. New Hampshire
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 33.3%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 11.0% (16th lowest)
> Population 65+: 16.4% (9th highest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 82.6% (the highest)
> Avg. retirement income: $22,976 (25th lowest)

Some 24,000 New Hampshire residents are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2025, this number is projected to increase by a third. Alzheimer’s primarily affects the elderly, and New Hampshire’s elderly population comprises 16.4% of state residents, the ninth highest share of all states. New Hampshire also has the healthiest elderly population of any state. Some 82.6% of state residents 65 and older are in good health compared to 74.5% of the nation’s elderly.

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16. Colorado
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 33.3%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 9.7% (2nd lowest)
> Population 65+: 13.0% (5th lowest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 82.1% (3rd highest)
> Avg. retirement income: $28,761 (6th highest)

Alzheimer’s primarily affects the elderly, and Colorado is a relatively young state. Elderly state residents comprise 13.0% of the population, the fifth lowest share, and only 9.7% of these individuals have Alzheimer’s, the second lowest share. At the current rate, the state’s elderly population will grow by 32.7% by 2025, the second fastest rate compared with other states and well above the national average rate of approximately 25%.

The state appears better equipped than most to handle the projected increase in Alzheimer’s patients. For every Colorado resident afflicted with Alzheimer’s, there are 3.5 caregivers — one of the highest caregiver to patient ratios of any state.