Alzheimer's-related deaths on the rise; still no treatment, cure or way to stop its rampant spread

Published: Tuesday, March 19 2013 5:15 p.m. MDT

Caregivers provide daily support but also assist with various basic activities, including getting the patient in and out of bed, getting dressed, getting to and using the toilet, bathing and other hygiene habits, and food and nutritional needs.

The report, based on 2010 Census data and results of the Chicago Health and Aging Project study, estimates that caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease typically end up providing care for more than a year and sometimes longer than five years.

With the rising number of patients comes a marked impact on state health care systems, as well as the families involved.

Approximately 137,000 families are believed to be assisting 32,000 Alzheimer's patients in Utah, according to the report. Nationally in 2012, 15.4 million family caregivers provided more than 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care, which is valued at about $216 billion.

In 2013, Alzheimer's is expected to cost the nation $203 billion. Expenditures are projected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050, as another person develops Alzheimer's every 68 seconds in the U.S., the report states.

Utah's plan for Alzheimer's disease also addresses where caregivers can find support and even respite in a time of need.

The Alzheimer's Association Utah chapter, which is heading up much of the local effort, offers a variety of educational and support resources for people living with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. More information can be found online at www.alz.org/utah.

E-mail: wleonard@deseretnews.com

Twitter: wendyleonards

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