Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that causes memory loss and impairs speech, behavior, and cognitive functions. The most common risk factor for the disease is age. The vast majority of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are at least 65 years old.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.8 million Americans 65 and older are living with the disease, as of 2020. As more and more of the baby boomer generation reaches that age, the number of Americans with the disease will increase to a projected 7.1 million people by 2025, an increase of nearly 22%. Yet this growth will not be uniform everywhere. In some states, the number of older people with Alzheimer’s disease is projected to grow by less than 10%, while in others it is projected to grow by more than 30%.
To determine the states where Alzheimer’s is growing the most rapidly or, alternatively, at a slower pace, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the projected increase in the number of Americans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease between 2020 and 2025 in every state from the Alzheimer’s Association’s Alzheimer’s disease Facts and Figures report. The share of the population that is 65 years or older in each state came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. The average retirement income by state also comes from the ACS. The percentage of Americans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease was calculated using Alzheimer’s Association data and population data from the ACS.
There are currently no approved medical options to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease or even slow its progression. In addition to the health challenges faced by those with the disease, Alzheimer’s care can be incredibly costly. The Alzheimer’s Association projects there will be more than $51.2 billion worth of Medicaid payments made for Americans 65 and over with Alzheimer’s disease in 2020. Older Americans should consider the cost of long-term care when determining when they are going to retire. In nearly every state, it costs over $1 million to retire. This is what it costs to retire comfortably in every state.
The projected increase in Alzheimer’s disease by state is based on the projected population growth of residents aged 65 and older. Some Americans in this age bracket opt to relocate, moving from colder areas to warmer ones, typically in the southern and western parts of the nation. Many cities in these parts of the country have experienced significant population growth over the past decade, due largely to retirees moving in. These are the cities Americans are flocking to.
The state where the growth of Alzheimer’s is expected to be the slowest by far is North Dakota. The projected increase in adults 65+ with Alzheimer’s disease in the period from 2020-2025 is 6.7%. The percent of the 65+ population with Alzheimer’s disease now is 14.6%. The percent of the population which is currently 65+ is 14.6%. The average retirement income in the state $22,414.
The number of North Dakota residents 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is projected to grow from 15,000 in 2020 to 16,000 in 2025, a 6.7% increase — the lowest of all 50 states. North Dakota’s population has a relatively low share of older residents, at 14.6% compared with 15.2% of Americans overall.