Special Report

States Where Alzheimer's Is Soaring

There was much excitement when the FDA announced in June of 2021 that it has accelerated the approval of Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm — the first approved for the disease in 18 years. There is no cure for the progressive disease that affects cognitive functions like memory, speech, and motor skills. Despite the significant need, the approval was met with skepticism, as clinical trials have yet to conclusively prove it improved cognition, according to Duke Health, and some medical centers have refused to prescribe the drug.

As of yet, there are still no FDA-approved treatments that are known to prevent, cure, or even slow Alzheimer’s progression. Yet the number of Americans with the disease is projected to increase by 16% over the next five years — from 6.2 million in 2020 to 7.2 million in 2025. This increase is not projected to be uniform across the country with some states projected to have an increase in Alzheimer’s cases of less than 10% and others an increase of over 30%.

To determine the states where Alzheimer’s disease is soaring, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the 2021 Alzheimer’s Association’s Alzheimer’s disease Facts and Figures report. States were ranked by the projected increase in the number of Americans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease between 2020 and 2025 in every state. Additional data came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. As a larger share of the U.S. population turns 65 and older, the number of Alzheimer’s cases is projected to increase. Many of the states with the largest projected increases are also states with higher percentages of older Americans, though other risk factors like obesity, diabetes, and the quality of the health care system in each state also play a part.

Those with Alzheimer’s disease need a great deal of care. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that in 2021, the cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the U.S. was $355 billion. When the unpaid care given by friends and family is factored in, that figure balloons to over $610 billion. It is important for those who want to retire in the near future to save enough money to be able to afford long-term care in the event of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This is how much it costs to retire comfortably in every state.

Click here to see the states where Alzheimer’s is soaring