Alzheimes Disease

Alzheimer's Disease

Updated October 2012

Senior people photoAlzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of all dementia cases and there currently is no cure.  Dementia is the general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities that interfere with daily living.  According to the Alzheimer's Association about 5.4 million Americans live with the disease and in 2012 the estimated annual cost of care reached $200 billion, including $140 billion of these costs paid by Medicare and Medicaid.

Early symptoms of Alzheimer's include lack of interest, depression and difficulty remembering new information, like names and recent events. As the disease progresses people experience changes in mood and behavior and have difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.  

With a growing elderly population, by 2050 about 16 million people will be living with Alzheimer's disease.  This will take an financial toll on families and already strapped state budgets.  Alzheimer's is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

NCSL Resources

Postcard: Alzheimer's Disease
LegisBrief: Caring for a Loved One With Alzheimer's
State Legislatures Magazine: Alzheimer's: The Growing Cost of Care
Long-Term Care and Aging Overview

Additional Resources


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