04 Apr 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: According to estimates by researchers at Rand Corporation and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, US, costs of caring for people with dementia in the US in 2010 was between $159 billion-to-$215 billion, and it costs could rise dramatically with the increase in the numbers of older people in coming decades. The researchers found these costs of care comparable to, if not greater than, those for heart disease and cancer.
The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health totaled direct medical expenditures and costs attributable to the vast network of informal, unpaid care that supports people with dementia. Depending on how informal care is calculated, national expenditures in 2010 for dementia among people aged 71 and older were found to be $159 billion-to-$215 billion.
The complex analysis is one of the most comprehensive yet to determine healthcare costs for dementia. It is based on a nationally representative sample from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a survey of people 51 years and older that is funded by the NIA with contributions from the Social Security Administration.
Dr Richard J Hodes, director, National Institute on Aging (NIA), NIH, which funded the analysis, said that, "These findings reveal that the enormous emotional and physical demands of caring for people with dementia are accompanied by the similarly imposing financial burdens of dementia care. The national costs further compel us to do all we can to find effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias as soon as possible."
Interest in national health expenditures for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias has intensified with the January 2011 signing of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA), which calls for stepped up efforts to find new treatments and to improve care and services. Under NAPA, the Administration is leading development and implementation of a National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, under which new research studies, the new web portal www.alzheimers.gov , and new clinical training initiatives have moved forward.