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2019 Alzheimer's Facts & Figures

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for an estimated 60% to 80% of dementia cases. Although Alzheimer’s is a significant area of research, there is still much to be discovered about the cause, development, and cure of the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association has published its report for the 2019 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Some of the numbers are highlighted below:


In 2019, an estimated 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease. In Indiana, there were an estimated 110,000 Alzheimer’s patients in 2019 with a projected 20,000 additional patients in 2025. Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer's. The majority of seniors (82%) think it's important to have their thinking or memory checked but only 16% say they receive regular cognitive assessments.

Research suggests that the brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s may begin 20 or more years before symptoms appear. Initially, the brain is able to compensate for the changes and individuals continue to function normally. However, as the damage increases, the brain can no longer compensate and individuals begin to show subtle cognitive decline. The damage eventually becomes so significant that individuals show obvious cognitive decline (such as memory loss or confusion) and decline of bodily functions (such as swallowing).


One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another dementia. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Between 2000 and 2017, deaths from heart disease have decreased 9%. However, deaths from dementia have increased 145%. Alzheimer’s is also a leading cause of disability and poor health (morbidity). Before a person with Alzheimer’s dies, he or she lives through years of morbidity as the disease progresses.

Among people age 70, 61% of those with Alzheimer’s are expected to die before age 80 compared with 30 percent of people without Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death, and it is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.


More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias provided an estimated 18.5 billion hours of unpaid assistance, valued at $234 billion. This is approximately 10 times the total revenue of McDonald’s in 2017 ($22.8 billion). In Indiana, caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia reached 340,000 people providing about 387 million hours of care. The total lifetime cost of care for someone with dementia was estimated at $350,174 in 2018 dollars.


In 2019, Alzheimer's and other dementias cost the nation $290 billion. It is estimated this cost will rise to $1.1 trillion in 2050. Medicare and Medicaid are estimated to cover 67% of the total cost. Out-of-pocket spending is expected to be $63 billion. Average annual Medicaid payments per person for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias were 23 times as great as average Medicaid payments for those without Alzheimer’s or other dementias ($365).

On average, Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s or other dementias paid $10,798 out of pocket annually for health care and long-term care services not covered by other sources.

You can find the full report at the Alzheimer’s Association website.


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