Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by a loss of memory and cognition, a decline in ability to perform activities of daily living, and changes in personality and behavior. The increasing severity of symptoms over time ultimately leaves the patient completely dependent on others for care.
- As many as 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
- A person with Alzheimer’s disease will live an average of 8-10 years and as many as 20 years or more from onset of symptoms.
- Today it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the 5th leading cause for those 65 and older.
- 19 million Americans said they had a family member with Alzheimer’s and 37 million said they knew someone with Alzheimer’s.
- It is projected that the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease could more than triple to 16 million by mid-century.
- The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is about the same for all races, but women are more likely than men to develop the disease, in part because they live longer.
- Of Americans aged 65 and over, 1 in 8 has Alzheimer’s disease and nearly half of people aged 85 and older have the disease.
- Another American develops Alzheimer’s disease every 68 seconds. In 2050, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds.
- Those with Alzheimer’s are three times more likely to face hospitalization and eight times more likely to need skilled nursing care.
- One fourth of all home care involves care for an Alzheimer’s patient.
- Although Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, the risk of developing the illness rises with age. Current research from the National Institute on Aging indicates that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years beyond age 65.
- Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
- It is estimated that one to four family members act as caregivers for each individual with Alzheimer’s disease.
- More than 7 of 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease live at home. Almost 75% of home care is provided by family and friends.
- Three out of five people needing care are cared for at home.
In 2011, 15.2 million family and friends provided 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias — care valued at $210.5 billion. Alzheimer’s disease is already one of the most costly diseases in the world. With increasing life expectancies and the aging baby-boom generation, Alzheimer’s will be a major public health issue for decades to come.
As the 21st century unfolds, the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation enters the millennium with an even more energetic dedication to our mission of eradicating Alzheimer’s disease and empowering individuals to improve and maintain the health of their brains.