This week the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that said the cost of treating Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is $109 billion, more than the cost of treating cancer or heart disease.
An article on CNN.com reported that according to the study, the costs will more than double in the next 27 years, reaching $259 billion by 2040.
According to the article, the costs of treating heart disease are $102 billion and the costs for cancer treatment are $77 billion.
Per dementia patient, the cost of formal care comes to an average of $33,329 each year. The costs highlight how expensive the disease is for society. In the article, Robert Egge, vice president for public policy for the Alzheimer’s Association, is quoted as saying, “It’s expensive because of how long people live with the disease, and the intense care that’s required as they progress further and further into Alzheimer’s.”
Since 70% of dementia patients are eligible for Medicare, most costs fall on U.S. taxpayers, according to the study.
The study also points out that there are few successful therapies that can treat those suffering from dementia. But therapy can slow the onset of symptoms which can reduce costs. In fact, if treatment can push back the disease for an average of five years, it could eliminate about half the cost of care.
These numbers are eye-opening. What’s more, they put emphasis on the need for proper care and treatment of those with dementia who are in nursing homes and other skilled nursing facilities. But as the number of patients with Alzheimer’s grows, it will be our responsibility to be sure that they are getting the care they need. If you have a loved one who is in a nursing home and you believe their care is being neglected, you may have a case. Contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates for a free review of your case.