The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is expected to double to approximately 13 million by 2040, according to research from the Milken Institute, a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank headquartered in Santa Monica, California. The Milken Institute Dementia study serves as an expansive prediction of the rate of dementia in the next 20 years.
Simply put, these statistics imply that by 2040 nearly one out of three Americans age 85 or older will be affected by some form of dementia at an anticipated cost of $2 trillion.
According to the October 29 report, “Reducing the Cost and Risk of Dementia: Recommendations to Improve Brain Health and Decrease Disparities,” women will be disproportionately impacted, with 8.5 million women representing nearly two-thirds of those affected. Women are additionally burdened because they represent 60 percent of dementia caregivers. They are more likely than men to suffer financial losses associated with caregiving, such as missing work or even resigning from their jobs. The 45-page Milken Institute dementia study also contains 25 “Action Item” recommendations to support five overarching dementia policy goals:
- Maintaining and improving brain health across age, gender, and diverse populations
- Increasing access to cognitive testing and early diagnosis of dementia
- Increasing the diversity of research participants and prioritizing funding to address health disparities
- Building a dementia-informed workforce across the healthcare continuum
- Promoting supportive communities and workplaces for dementia patients and caregivers
The Milken Institute dementia study updates a previously-published 2016 report, “The Price Women Pay for Dementia: Strategies to Ease Gender Disparity and Economic Costs,” with an added focus on brain health and the impacts of dementia on diverse communities.
Dementia is a syndrome involving the typically progressive deterioration of memory, thinking, communication skills, motor function, social skills and other capacities needed for activities of daily living. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia in the United States, representing 60 to 70 percent of cases. Other causes of dementia include Huntington’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakobs, Lewy body and Parkinson’s diseases, vascular dementia such as that resulting from stroke, as well as traumatic brain injury and HIV.
Worldwide 50 million people are currently affected by some form of dementia and that number is expected to rise to 82 million by 2030 and 152 million by 2050.
For more information on dementia, visit the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys’ story about Lewy-Body Dementia.