The Growing Alzheimer’s Family
By Alzinfo.org

One in eight older Americans, or some 5.4 million people, has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. And nearly 15 million family members and others are providing unpaid care for them. That means more than 20 million Americans either have Alzheimer’s or provide unpaid care for those with the disease.

Most of those with Alzheimer’s are over 65, including nearly half of those over age 85. Nearly two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women, a result of the fact that women tend to live older then men. At any given age, women and men are equally likely to develop the disease, and every 69 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s.

These are among the findings of a new roundup of facts and figures from the Alzheimer’s Association. The figures reflect the growing burden of Alzheimer’s as our population continues to live longer. In 2000, there were an estimated 411,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s. By 2010, that number had risen to 454,000. It is expected to reach 615,000 by 2030.

Most people with Alzheimer’s live an average of four to eight years, though some can live as long as two decades. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

While about two-thirds of those with advanced Alzheimer’s are cared for in nursing homes, millions of people with the disease are cared for at home through home care. Some 80 percent of the 15 million caregivers who provide unpaid care are family members. Last year, they provided unpaid help on average for nearly 22 hours a week, though for many this figure was much greater. Caregiving can also cause problems with keeping a paid job outside the home.

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