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Alzheimer's Association Long Island Releases "2011 Alzheimer's Facts and Figures" Report

LongIsland.com

Ronkonkoma, NY - Alzheimer's Association Long Island released its "2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures" report, which this year included a special section on early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's. According to the report, there ...

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Ronkonkoma, NY - Alzheimer's Association Long Island released its "2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures" report, which this year included a special section on early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's.

According to the report, there are an estimated 14.9 million unpaid caregivers who are providing care to 5.4 million people with Alzheimer's disease. In addition, Alzheimer's disease costs the American healthcare system $183 billion annually.

"2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures" provides a statistical resource for U.S. data related to Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia, as well as other dementias. This information includes definitions of the types of dementia and a summary of current knowledge about Alzheimer's disease. Additional sections address prevalence, mortality, caregiving and use and costs of care and services. The Special Report focuses on the benefits and challenges of early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia which accounts for an estimated 60-80% of all dementia cases, according to the report. Early symptoms of Alzheimer's are difficulty remembering names and recent events, apathy and depression. Later symptoms include impaired judgment, disorientation, confusion, changes in behavior and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, according to the report. Of that number, 5.2 million are 65 years of age and older. That means one in eight people aged 65 and older have Alzheimer's. The report further says that from 2000 to 2008, the number of deaths related to Alzheimer's increased 66%. In New York State, an estimated 320,000 residents were afflicted with Alzheimer's, with 1,999 deaths attributed to Alzheimer's. It is estimated that, by 2025, there will be 350,000 New Yorkers afflicted with Alzheimer's.

The report also showed that nearly 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer's or another dementia and 80% of that care provided at home is delivered by family caregivers. In 2010, these caregivers provided 17 billion hours in unpaid care at a value of more than $202 billion. New York State has 990,490 people caring for those with Alzheimer's and dementia. These caregivers perform more than 1.1 billion hours of unpaid care per year at an annual value of more than $13.4 billion.

Nationwide, caring for those with Alzheimer's and other dementia costs $183 billion, with Medicare paying 51% of the cost at $93 billion, followed by Medicaid (20% at $37 billion), out of pocket (17% at $31 billion) and other sources (12% at $22 billion). The cost is expected to increase to $1.1 trillion by 2050. Most Alzheimer's patients are hospitalized because of falls, ischemic heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, pneumonia and delirium or change in mental status.

As a result of caring for those with Alzheimer's, many caregivers who are employed have had to switch jobs, work fewer hours or quit their jobs. In 2010, more than 6 in 10 caregivers reported high or very high levels of emotional stress and another 41% reporting physical stress. Many had to go to the emergency room for these symptoms, resulting in $7.9 billion in healthcare costs. About one-third of caregivers reported signs of depression.

"We have recognized the enormous financial and emotional toll on those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's," says Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director/CEO, Alzheimer's Association Long Island. "These caregivers want to care for their loved ones at home as long as possible. Providing additional incentives for families and increased availability of home health aides can greatly reduce healthcare costs."

The special report discusses the benefits and challenges of early diagnosis and detection of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. While brain imaging techniques and the use of biomarkers can help investigate the causes of cognitive dysfunction, the report says they are not reliable techniques for diagnosing Alzheimer's.

"This report is a valuable asset for those who wish to know more about Alzheimer's disease and the effect it has not just on those with Alzheimer's, but on their families and the caregivers," Ms. Malack-Ragona says. "Early detection of Alzheimer's or other dementia is crucial. Any delay may result in the advancement of the disease, which will greatly reduce the quality of life for that person. They say up to 80% of those afflicted with the disease are never diagnosed. If someone you love shows a change in behavior, I urge you to have that person undergo detection for Alzheimer's or dementia."

For more information about the Alzheimer's Association, please contact Mary Ann Malack-Ragona at (631) 820-8068 or visit us at www.alz.org/longisland.

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* Picture is attached and available upon request.
** Copies of the report are available upon request.