Alzheimer's Is on the Rise: What Are the Long-Term Costs?

By Zissimopoulos, Julie | Aging Today, May/June 2013 | Go to article overview

Alzheimer's Is on the Rise: What Are the Long-Term Costs?


Zissimopoulos, Julie, Aging Today


Much is said about the daunting cost of Alzheimer's disease, and for good reason: According to the Alzheimer's Association, in 2012, $200 billion was spent caring for Americans with Alzheimer's or other dementias. Given projections of steeply rising numbers of those with dementia in coming decades, it is natural to want to know what long-term costs face the United States. Such economic projections are far from simple, yet sufficiently nuanced predictions are now possible with the help of economic modeling tools.

Projecting Costs an Uncertain Business

The true cost of the disease, like the disease itself, is not completely understood and may never be, but we have tools to improve our estimates. We do not know the exact size of the current population of Americans with Alzheimer's disease because the diagnosis can only be confirmed after death. And some costs attributed to Alzheimer's disease stem from coexisting conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes.

But most importantly, expenditures on paid care for Alzheimer's disease are just one part of a larger picture: alongside these are the costs of care provided by unpaid caregivers who accounted for 17.4 billion hours of care in 2011, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Informal care involves costs in a broader sensethe cost of a person's time, of health impact, earnings and quality of life. Assigning a monetary value to the work of an unpaid individual is not easy. Estimates typically overlook such informal costs, suggesting that the estimate of $200 billion fell short of the true economic toll of this disease in 2012.

We do not know how many people will develop Alzheimer's- but the Alzheimer's Association predicts that by 2015 the number of people ages 65 and older with Alzheimer's may reach 7.1 million, a 40 percent increase from today. Then there is policy. Medicare and Medicaid may change in ways that will affect costs. If these programs reduced coverage for long-term care (both institutional and home) of individuals with Alzheimer's, public expenditures on these services would fall, but informal costs would likely rise. And there is the cost of treating caregivers whose own health may decline. These multiple unknowns make it challenging to project the costs associated with diagnosing and treating Alzheimer's.

Other Parts of the Picture

Despite the understandable focus on outlay, part of a full picture of the disease's economic impact is value: when money is spent on treatment, for example, what- and how much- might be gained? An improvement in a patient's health, a longer life, better quality of life for the patient and an informal caregiver- all indicate value. We need to understand costs and value, and in decision making, consider the two together. There will be value to treating the disease, even if it costs a lot to do so.

New medical technologies also form part of the picture- and add another layer of uncertainty. As the progression of Alzheimer's becomes more severe over time, costs increase. Presumably, if the disease's progression could be delayed, costs would fall. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Alzheimer's Is on the Rise: What Are the Long-Term Costs?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.