Alzheimer's in danger of straining public funding: report

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Alzheimer's in danger of straining public funding: report
Alzheimer's in danger of straining public funding: report

Social and demographic trends combined with an expected increase in the incidence of Alzheimer's diseases due to the growing size of the aging population are in danger of colliding to strain local, state and federal budgets, according to the author of a report released Wednesday that was commissioned by USAgainstAlzheimer's.

The report was released at the organization's National Alzheimer's Summit: Uniting Communities for a Cure in Washington, D.C.

“We need to consider the ways in which our nation is actually becoming less prepared to meet the burdens that dementia and Alzheimer's threaten to impose than has been commonly assumed,” wrote economist Nick Eberstadt in the report, titled “Hiding in Plain Sight.”

“And if an unexpected number of individuals, families and communities do indeed find themselves in crisis as a result of unexpected vulnerabilities in the face of Alzheimer's, we should take it as a given that our country's public budgets — at the federal, state and local level — will be in Alzheimer's-induced crises too,” he added.

Committing to finding treatments and cures could alter this course, said Eberstadt, who also works for the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.

Changing family structures, an increase in the number of older adults who live by themselves and new patterns of wealth accumulation are among current trends that will “exacerbate the impact of Alzheimer's,” according to the report.

“While relatively few Americans and their families may be in a position to finance long-term care entirely out of their own pockets, an alarmingly large number of households appear to have no net wealth which with to finance such care at all,” Eberstadt said. “And an even larger number appear to have only meager resources at their disposal (net wealth of less than $25,000). For people and families in this financial situation — a group much larger than generally recognized — the risk of Alzheimer's could easily mean the rapid exhaustion of all net worth, and the assumption by public programs of subsequent costs of care and treatment.”

USAgainstAlzheimer's has a goal of stopping Alzheimer's by 2020.

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