Special Report

States Where Alzheimer's Is Soaring

Detailed Findings and Methodology:

One in 10 people 65 and older in the United States have Alzheimer’s dementia, according to the report. The symptoms include difficulties with memory, language, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills that affect a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.

Dr. Kenneth Langa of the University of Michigan, whose research focuses on the epidemiology and costs of chronic diseases in older adults, detailed in an email to 24/7 Wall St. the key factors that lead to differences in the incidence of the disease across states.

Since age is the biggest risk factor in developing Alzheimer’s, Langa noted that states with generally older populations would be expected to have more Alzheimer’s cases than states with younger populations. Also, some socioeconomic conditions such as lower levels of income and education are associated with increased Alzheimer’s incidence.

In Alaska, the percentage of the population who are 65 and older is forecast to rise to between 12% and 15% by 2020, and to between 15% and 18% by 2030, according to predictions from the University of Virginia Demographics Research Group.

“Alaska’s population forecast includes unusually steep percentage growth in the 65+ population,’’ said Jennifer Weuve, associate professor of epidemiology in Boston University’s School of Public Health, in an email.

The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s is huge and will increase as the number of individuals with the disease climbs. Total costs of care for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are estimated at $259 billion annually, and are predicted to reach $1.1 trillion by 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Medicare and Medicaid cover 67% of the cost of care.

On average, Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s or other dementias paid $10,315 out of pocket annually for health care and long-term care services not covered by other sources.

As the number of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease rises, the need for caregivers will become more urgent. More than 15 million Americans provided unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias in 2016, according to data from the Alzheimer’s Association.

To determine the states where Alzheimer’s is soaring, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the projected increase in the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s between 2017-2025 in every state from the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 2017 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 2015 American Consumer Survey.

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