This article describes the public health impact of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), including prevalence and incidence, mortality and morbidity, use and costs of care and the ramifications of AD for family caregivers, the dementia workforce and society. The Special Report discusses the larger health care system for older adults with cognitive issues, focusing on the role of caregivers and non-physician health care professionals. An estimated 6.9 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia today. This number could grow to 13.8 million by 2060, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure AD. Official AD death certificates recorded 119,399 deaths from AD in 2021. In 2020 and 2021, when COVID-19 entered the ranks of the top ten causes of death, Alzheimer’s was the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. Official counts for more recent years are still being compiled. Alzheimer’s remains the fifth-leading cause of death among Americans age 65 and older. Between 2000 and 2021, deaths from stroke, heart disease and HIV decreased, whereas reported deaths from AD increased more than 140%. More than 11 million family members and other unpaid caregivers provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of care to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias in 2023. These figures reflect a decline in the number of caregivers compared with a decade earlier, as well as an increase in the amount of care provided by each remaining caregiver. Unpaid dementia caregiving was valued at $346.6 billion in 2023. Its costs, however, extend to unpaid caregivers’ increased risk for emotional distress and negative mental and physical health outcomes. Members of the paid health care and broader community-based workforce are involved in diagnosing, treating and caring for people with dementia. However, the United States faces growing shortages across different segments of the dementia care workforce due to a combination of factors, including the absolute increase in the number of people living with dementia. Therefore, targeted programs and care delivery models will be needed to attract, better train and effectively deploy health care and community-based workers to provide dementia care. Average per-person Medicare payments for services to beneficiaries age 65 and older with AD or other dementias are almost three times as great as payments for beneficiaries without these conditions, and Medicaid payments are more than 22 times as great. Total payments in 2024 for health care, long-term care and hospice services for people age 65 and older with dementia are estimated to be $360 billion. The Special Report investigates how caregivers of older adults with cognitive issues interact with the health care system and examines the role non-physician health care professionals play in facilitating clinical care and access to community-based services and supports. It includes surveys of caregivers and health care workers, focusing on their experiences, challenges, awareness and perceptions of dementia care navigation.

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This post is Copyright: | May 1, 2024

Wiley: Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Table of Contents