10 Things You Should Know About Alzheimer's Disease

Dementia exacts a toll in cost and caregiver health—and some states will get walloped in coming years.


8) Family caregivers face a long haul. People with Alzheimer's and dementia typically experience a slow progression of the disease, so family caregiving is often a long-term prospect. A 2004 report by the Alzheimer's Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving found that at any one time, nearly a third of these caregivers have been at it for five years or longer and nearly 40 percent have been doing so for one to four years.

9) Family caregivers do the job free. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that in 2008, 9.9 million caregivers—from children and other family members to friends and neighbors—provided 8.5 billion hours of unpaid care, which amounts to some $94 billion in value. On top of that, these caregivers pay an average of $219 per month out of their own pockets, according to the 2004 report by the Alzheimer's Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving.

10) The states will feel an increasing burden. The annual report estimates that by 2025, the western states of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Alaska will experience growth in the number of residents with Alzheimer's of between 81 percent and 127 percent compared with 2000. Also by 2025, California and Florida, where more than 500,000 residents will have the disease, will lead the nation in volume.

Corrected on : Corrected on 03/26/09: An earlier version of this article misstated the percentages of people with Alzheimer's disease who also have diabetes or who also have osteoporosis.