Alzheimer's burden growing

The Alzheimer’s Association 2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report just released illustrates that the burden of Alzheimer’s in our country and state continues to grow. An estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia in 2020, including 190,000 in Michigan.

More family and friends are serving as Alzheimer’s caregivers. In Michigan, 518,000 caregivers provided a total of 590 million hours of unpaid care, valued at a total of $7.7 billion.

Death rates from Alzheimer’s continue to climb. Deaths due to Alzheimer’s have increased an alarming 146 percent since 2000, while deaths for most other major diseases remained flat or decreased.

The costs are unsustainable. It’s estimated that the total lifetime cost of care for someone with dementia is over $350,000. In Michigan, the Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer’s are estimated at $1.487 billion.

The report underscores the urgency to invest in research, advance public policies and expand care and support programs.

During Brain Awareness Week — and throughout the year — join me in doing all we can to help those impacted by Alzheimer's disease and all other dementia. Learn more at alz.org/gmc.

Russ Knopp

Traverse City

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