Friday, April 26, 2013

The U.S. could be spending $511 billion on dementia by 2040

Dementia costs in the United States account for a whopping $109 billion for direct care. This does not include the costs of caring for a person with dementia, usually provided by family members, which would add an additional $50 - $106 billion to that number. Why is dementia care so expensive?

A recent study found that nearly 15% of people age 71 and older (3.8 million people in the U.S.) suffer from dementia, which includes Alzheimer's and other mental disorders. By 2040, the number will jump to 9.1 million people at a cost of $511 billion, according to a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek article.

Without a way to prevent, cure, or effectively treat dementia, the costs for helping patients in nursing homes or at home manage the most basic activities of life as they become increasingly impaired is only going to get worse as the baby boomer generation ages.

 “We need more research into interventions to delay or halt the onset of dementia,” said Michael Hurd, an author of the study and director of Rand Corp.’s Center of the Study of Aging, in an interview. According to Rand, “right now we don’t really have anything at all.”  The hope is that research initiatives and funding, including the $100 million President Obama committed to, will help researchers make some progress on a cure before the baby boomer generation overwhelms the system.

Evan H. Farr is a Certified Elder Law Attorney with a focus on the financial and legal issues surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia. At the Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, our Alzheimer’s and Dementia Planning Team provides life-long guidance, management, and oversight on vital issues such as medical and nursing care, housing options, financial management, estate planning, asset protection, Medicaid eligibility, and more.  Call us at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.

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