The 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report shows that while deaths from other major diseases, such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS and stroke, are in decline, deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia continue to rise. In 2013 an estimated 450,000 people in the US will die with Alzheimer’s.
Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, said: “Unfortunately, today there are no Alzheimer’s survivors. If you have Alzheimer’s disease, you either die from it or die with it. Now we know that 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Urgent, meaningful action is necessary, particularly as more and more people age into greater risk for developing a disease that today has no cure and no way to slow or stop its progression.”
In January 2012, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act was signed into law to coordinate efforts to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s. However, advocates and researchers say that funding is lacking. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, funding for research must increase four-fold to make any progress in slowing, preventing or treating Alzheimer’s within 10 years.
The Facts and Figures report also explores the challenges faced by carers for people living with Alzheimer’s, specifically those who do not live locally.
In 2012 15.4 million family and friends provided 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Eighty percent of care provided in the community is provided by unpaid caregivers.
Nearly 15% of carers are long-distance carers, living an hour or more away from their loved ones. Beth Kallmyer, vice president of constituent services for the Alzheimer’s Association, said: “Long-distance caregivers have nearly double the out-of-pocket expenses of local caregivers, experience greater challenges assessing the care recipient’s conditions and needs, report more difficulty communicating with health care providers and often have higher levels of psychological distress and family discord in their caregiving experience.”
The 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report contains the data from the US on prevalence, mortality, caregiving, and use and costs of health care services. It can be downloaded from the Alzheimer’s Association website.