Alzheimer’s costs spike

For the first time, federal Medicare costs for Alzheimer’s and other dementia care have exceeded $260 billion.

 

Alzheimer’s, the single largest consumer of Medicare funds, drains away one out of every five Medicare dollars. This drain on our economy is projected to grow to more than $1 trillion by mid-century, and will break Medicare.

Not part of the direct federal burden, more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for the estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s dementia. These contributions disproportionately come from women, who make up two-thirds of Alzheimer’s caregivers.

Georgia families alone provided almost 600 million hours of unpaid care to family members with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, worth well more than $1 billion.

Alzheimer’s is like trying to change the tire on a moving car. We spend much more energy just keeping the wheel off the ground than we do figuring out how to fix it. While we caregivers spend billions of Medicare and family dollars, the money we spend to find a cure is critical to keeping the car on the road. We cannot just pull off the road and fix it.

Please join all those affected by Alzheimer’s, both patients and caregivers, in thanking U.S. Reps. Jody Hice and Rick Allen for their past support of Alzheimer’s Alzheimer’s research funding.

Alzheimer’s research is now funded at about $1 billion a year, well short of the $2.2 billion the National Institutes of Health estimates will be needed to complete successful research.

Please contact these congressmen and ask them to support further research funding: The NIH has determined that every dollar invested in research will repay taxpayers $758 in reduced Medicare costs by mid-century.

We are all anxiously waiting on the first survivor of Alzheimer’s. It could be you!

Ralph Stewart

Augusta

(The writer is the Alzheimer’s Association ambassador to Georgia’s 12th Congressional District.)

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