The national cost of caring for those with Alzheimer's and dementia is estimated to be $259 billion this year, according to a new report from the Alzheimer's Association.
The bulk of that money, $175 billion, is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid. In New York, the estimated Medicaid costs for adults 65 and older suffering some form of dementia is estimated at $4,598 billion this year. That cost is expected to increase 33.3 percent to $4,751 billion over the next eight years, according to the report.
"The key to reducing the costs is clinical research and an increase in research funding on the federal level," stated Christopher Smith, Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association New - York City Chapter. "2017 marks the first year annual costs to care for individuals living with Alzheimer's or other dementias will surpass a quarter of a trillion dollars. We have to raise awareness of these statistics so we can mobilize the resources needed to mitigate the effects of Alzheimer's and find a cure," he added.
More than 390 thousand New Yorkers have Alzheimer's or dementia. That number is expected to increase to 460 thousand by 2025. Last year 1,020 million New York caregivers provided over 1,161 billion hours of unpaid care. As a result, they spent more than $848 million in added healthcare costs. The disease is particularly devastating for women. Nearly two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer's are women, and more than 60% of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers are women.
In New York City, and around the country, African-Americans and Hispanics are especially hard hit by the disease. Although whites make up the majority of the more than 5 million people with Alzheimer's disease, available research showed that African-Americans are two times more likely and Hispanics are about one and one-half times more likely than whites to have Alzheimer's and other dementias.
"With such a far-reaching disease, it's difficult to come across anyone who hasn't been affected by Alzheimer's in some way," Smith said. "This is especially true in communities of color, where diagnosis and treatment often comes later than in other populations. That's why we are making care and support services and education outreach in these communities a priority for the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association."