Special Report

States Where Alzheimer's Is Soaring

Source: Thinkstock

50. Iowa
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 14.1%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 12.8% (7th highest)
> Population 65+: 16.0% (15th highest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 80.4% (4th highest)
> Avg. retirement income: $20,252 (4th lowest)

There will be a significant increase in Alzheimer’s cases in every state. The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease in Iowa is projected to climb by 14.1% between 2017 and 2025, the smallest increase of all states. The projected growth of each state’s elderly population is one of the best predictors of how fast Alzheimer’s cases will increase. Nearly 13% of the Iowa’s elderly population has the disease. While this is the seventh highest percentage of all states, it is expected to grow by just 20.7%, one of the slowest growths. The Alzheimer’s death rate in Iowa of 42 for every 100,000 people is fifth highest nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

49. North Dakota
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 14.3%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 13.0% (5th highest)
> Population 65+: 14.2% (11th lowest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 75.6% (21st lowest)
> Avg. retirement income: $22,776 (22nd lowest)

While the prevalence of Alzheimer’s in North Dakota will climb at a slower rate than in almost all states, a relatively large share of the state population dies from the disease. With nearly 50 deaths per 100,000 people, North Dakota has the second highest mortality rate for deaths associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Thinkstock

48. Rhode Island
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 17.4%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 13.5% (the highest)
> Population 65+: 16.1% (13th highest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 78.1% (16th highest)
> Avg. retirement income: $25,966 (16th highest)

An estimated 13.5% of Rhode Island’s elderly population have Alzheimer’s, the highest share of all states. Alzheimer’s disease was the fifth leading cause of death in Rhode Island in 2014.

Living alone in old age can be a sign of social isolation, but also an indication of independence for many older Americans, as well as people with the disease. For individuals living with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, living alone can be unsafe. About 31% of Rhode Island residents 65 and older live alone, the second highest share of any state.

Source: Thinkstock

47. South Dakota
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 17.6%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 12.6% (9th highest)
> Population 65+: 15.7% (21st highest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 77.0% (23rd highest)
> Avg. retirement income: $20,765 (5th lowest)

South Dakota had the highest mortality rate from Alzheimer’s disease of any state with 50.9 deaths per 100,000 state residents. The relatively high incidence of the disease among the state’s elderly population largely explains the high mortality rate. States with low projected increases in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease almost always have low projected growths in the elderly population, but South Dakota is the exception. The state’s 65 and older population is projected to grow by nearly 27% by 2025, versus the national average growth of approximately 25%.

Regardless, like every other state, South Dakota will need more caregivers. Currently there are only 2.2 caregivers in the state for every Alzheimer’s patient, the fifth lowest ratio in the U.S.

Source: Thinkstock

46. New York
> Increase in Alzheimer’s, 2017-2025: 17.9%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s: 13.2% (4th highest)
> Population 65+: 15.0% (22nd lowest)
> Pct. of 65+ pop. in good health: 73.7% (14th lowest)
> Avg. retirement income: $26,249 (15th highest)

New York’s Medicaid costs for those 65 and older with Alzheimer’s are expected to be $4.6 billion in 2017, the most of any state. Despite a slower than average eight-year growth rate in the number of elderly people with the disease, the state’s Alzheimer’s-related Medicaid costs are expected to remain the highest in the nation also in 2025.

The Empire State has more than 1 million caregivers tending to those with Alzheimer’s disease, or about 2.6 for every Alzheimer’s patient.

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