Special Report

States Where Alzheimer's Is Soaring

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19. Colorado (tied)
> Projected increase in adults 65+ with Alzheimer’s disease, 2020-2025: 21.1%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s disease: 10.3% (2nd lowest)
> Pct. of population 65+: 13.4% (5th lowest)
> Avg. retirement income: $30,394 (6th highest)

Alzheimer’s disease mostly affects older people, and Colorado is a relatively young state. State residents who are 65 and older comprise just 13.4% of the population, the fifth lowest share, and only 10.3% of them have Alzheimer’s, the second lowest share. The mortality rate is also low, at 29 Alzheimer’s-related deaths per 100,000 people, the eighth lowest in the country. At the current rate, the state’s share of the older population is growing fast, partially because it is relatively small now. The U.S. Census estimates that the 65 and older population will grow by 32.0% until 2030 and will then comprise 21.0% of the state’s total population.

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19. Delaware (tied)
> Projected increase in adults 65+ with Alzheimer’s disease, 2020-2025: 21.1%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s disease: 11.4% (13th lowest)
> Pct. of population 65+: 17.6% (5th highest – tied)
> Avg. retirement income: $29,525 (10th highest)

In Delaware, the Alzheimer’s Association forecasts a 21.1% increase in Alzheimer’s cases among the 65 and older population between 2020 and 2025 as well as 23.6% increase in Medicaid costs related to caring for older residents with the condition. The state’s 65 and older residents comprise 17.6% of the population, the fifth highest share of all states. As of 2019, Delaware had 17 geriatricians, doctors specializing in health care for older people, fewer doctors than in only seven other states.

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18. Minnesota
> Projected increase in adults 65+ with Alzheimer’s disease, 2020-2025: 21.2%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s disease: 11.9% (25th lowest)
> Pct. of population 65+: 15.0% (13th lowest – tied)
> Avg. retirement income: $24,625 (24th lowest)

Alzheimer’s disease was the fourth-leading cause of death in Minnesota in 2017, claiming 2,474 lives. Also in that year, Medicare spent $22,830 per patient with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia in the state, significantly less than the U.S. average of $27,101. Medicaid costs related to treating the disease among the state’s older population are estimated to increase by 20.1% by 2025, about the same as the national average projected increase of 20.2%. The number of people living with the condition is projected to rise by 21.2%, from 99,000 to 120,000 in the next five years.

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16. California (tied)
> Projected increase in adults 65+ with Alzheimer’s disease, 2020-2025: 21.7%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s disease: 13.0% (9th highest)
> Pct. of population 65+: 13.6% (6th lowest)
> Avg. retirement income: $32,908 (2nd highest)

California, the most populous state, had 16,627 deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s disease in 2018, more than any other state. About 13.6% of the state’s residents are 65 and older, the sixth lowest share in the country, but 13.0% of them have the disease, the ninth highest such share. The number of people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase by a fifth, from 690,000 in 2020 to 840,000 in 2025. Though the average retirement income in California is the second highest in the U.S., Medicaid spending on Alzheimer’s patients is expected to grow by 24.7% in the next five years, well above the average increase of 20.2% expected nationwide.

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16. Oregon (tied)
> Projected increase in adults 65+ with Alzheimer’s disease, 2020-2025: 21.7%
> Pct. of 65+ pop. with Alzheimer’s disease: 10.1% (the lowest)
> Pct. of population 65+: 16.7% (10th highest – tied)
> Avg. retirement income: $27,705 (17th highest)

Though Oregon is tied for the 10th highest share of residents who are 65 and older, only 10.1% of them have Alzheimer’s, the lowest share among all states. However, the mortality rate is relatively high. In 2018, there were 44.6 Alzheimer’s-related deaths per 100,000 people, higher than the U.S. rate of 37.3 deaths per 100,000 people. In 2017, Alzheimer’s disease was the sixth-leading cause of death among residents of all ages in Oregon, according to the CDC.

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