The Devastating Cost of Alzheimer’s Care

Print Email

Providing care for a parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia costs $20,000 or more for 42% of Americans. About a third of those pay $30,000 or more for a year of care.

The information comes from a new report at Caring.com, a subsidiary of Bankrate. Costs include out-of-pocket expenses for assisted living, professional in-home caregivers, medication and medical bills, incontinence products, wandering products, transportation and other expenses.

Caring.com notes that 62% of those surveyed are paying for Alzheimer’s care out of their own pockets, and 51% are using their loved one’s savings. A third use government benefits and 42% use the patient’s health care plan, while 16% use a credit card and 10% use long-term care insurance.

Andy Cohen, Caring.com’s CEO, said:

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to triple as the population continues to age. The majority of family caregivers care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s for at least a few years, with some even extending over a decade. For nearly half of caregivers, caring for Alzheimer’s could cost up to $100,000 or more over just five years.

These costs do not include the unpaid hours that caregivers — 75% of whom are women, according to Caring.com — devote to providing care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that in 2013 15.5 million caregivers provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care that had a value of more than $220 billion (about $12.50 an hour). The group also noted that the toll on a caregiver’s health added $9.3 billion in health care costs for the caregivers themselves.

One last sobering fact from the Alzheimer’s Association on the costs associated with the condition:

In 2014, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s will total an estimated $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Despite these staggering figures, Alzheimer’s will cost an estimated $1.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) in 2050.

ALSO READ: Breakthrough Blood Test in Identifying Alzheimer’s Disease