New Alzheimer’s Association Report Reveals Sharp Increases in Alzheimer’s Prevalence, Deaths and Costs of Care

South Carolina has the highest Alzheimer’s death rate in America.

For the second consecutive year, total payments to care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will surpass a quarter of a trillion dollars ($277 billion), which includes an increase of nearly $20 billion from last year, according to data reported in the Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released today.

New findings from the report show the growing burden of Alzheimer’s on people living with the disease, their families and caregivers, as well as society at large. The number of older Americans is growing rapidly, so too is the number of people living with Alzheimer’s and the subsequent impact to the nation’s economy. By 2050, the total cost of care for Alzheimer’s is projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion.

“There are nearly 90,000 South Carolinians living with Alzheimer’s and over 300,000 caregivers helping them battle this challenging disease. These families need information and support, but they often don’t know where to start. The Alzheimer’s Association is here to help families facing any type of dementia navigate the system, develop a care plan and establish a support system for caregivers.” Sam Wiley (VP of Programs – Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter)

Given the long duration of this disease, the strain on Alzheimer’s caregivers can last several years and produce serious declines in caregiver physical, emotional and financial well-being. In 2017, 16 million Americans provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care in the form of physical, emotional and financial support – a contribution to the nation valued at $232.1 billion. The difficulties associated with providing this level of care are estimated to have resulted in $11.4 billion in additional healthcare costs for Alzheimer’s and other dementia caregivers in 2017.

Mortality from Alzheimer’s disease continues to rise. While deaths from other major causes continue to decrease, new data from the report shows that deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have more than doubled, increasing 123 percent between 2000 and 2015. For context the number of deaths from heart disease – the number one killer in America – decreased 11 percent.

“South Carolina has the highest Alzheimer’s mortality rate of any state in the country, which should position it at the forefront of public health initiatives in our state. It is more important than ever to ensure that those with the disease get an early and accurate diagnosis, and that the rest of us understand how we can reduce our own risk of developing cognitive decline.” -Cindy Alewine (President/CEO – Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter)

Updated Alzheimer’s Statistics

The Facts and Figures report provides an in-depth look at the latest national and state statistics and information on Alzheimer’s prevalence, incidence, mortality, costs of care and caregiving:

Prevalence, Incidence and Mortality

  • An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2018. Of those, 89,000 are South Carolina residents.
  • By 2025 – just seven years from now – the estimated number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia in South Carolina will be 120,000.
  • Barring the development of medical breakthroughs, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly triple from 5.5 million to 13.8 million by 2050.
  • Two-thirds of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s dementia (3.4 million) are women.
  • Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s dementia. By mid-century, someone in the U.S. will develop the disease every 33 seconds.
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. In South Carolina, 2,453 died with Alzheimer’s in 2015, the most recent figure available.

Cost of Care

  • Total national cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated at $277 billion (not including unpaid caregiving) in 2018, of which $186 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid; out-of-pocket costs represent $60 billion of the total payments, while other costs total $30 billion.
  • In South Carolina, the report estimated total Medicaid costs for Americans with dementia age 65 and older is $573 million for 2018. In the next seven years, that figure is expected to increase 40.2% to over $803 million.


  • Nearly half of all caregivers (48 percent) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
  • Approximately two-thirds of caregivers are women, and one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.
  • Forty-one percent of caregivers have a household income of $50,000 or less.

“The Alzheimer’s Association provides local community members with caregiver support groups, education programs and immediate one-on-one support through our 24/7 Helpline. It is important for us to ensure that our fellow South Carolinians have the support that they need to face the difficult journey of dementia.” – Taylor Wilson (Director of Communications and Advocacy – Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter)

About 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

The Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report is a comprehensive compilation of national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The report conveys the impact of Alzheimer’s on individuals, families, government and the nation’s health care system. Since its 2007 inaugural release, the report has become the preeminent source covering the broad spectrum of Alzheimer’s issues. The Facts and Figures report is an official publication of the Alzheimer’s Association.

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