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By Sarah C. Threnhauser

Just last week, the Alzheimer’s Association’s new report (see 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures) caught my attention – Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. And, a third of seniors have Alzheimer’s or another dementia at the end of their life. Startling statistics.

In short, in 2010, 11.7% (4.7 million) of the 40.3 million Americans over age 65 were living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, the prevalence of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease is projected to reach 13.8 million or 15.5% of the 65+ population (see 11.7% Of Americans Over Age 65 Had Alzheimer’s Disease In 2010; Prevalence Expected To Reach 15.5% By 2050)

The challenge? The cost. In 2013, the health care system will pay $203 billion to support these consumers: including $107 billion for Medicare, $35 billion for Medicaid, and $34 billion in out-of-pocket expenses. Currently, it costs $45,657 per year to provide health services for this consumer group. And, with the increase of prevalence, we will likely see these costs triple.

The opportunity? Currently, the services for consumers with Alzheimer’s are largely focused on supporting the family that is giving care for the consumer until their cognitive decline is severe enough to warrant institutional care. But that formula is changing with the advent of new diagnostic tools and treatments. We’ve covered some of these new developments in past issues:

The Alzheimer’s prevalence trajectory is clear. For organizations currently serving consumers with cognitive disorders, this emerging technology and the financial weight of these prevalence numbers make this area of consumer service worth a second look.

For another free resource, see: Developments In Alzheimer’s Just Keep Coming  all members

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