In her blog The Yellow Wallpaper, Deb Peterson lists financial worries as the number one stress in caring for her mother, who suffers from dementia. "If I knew that my mother was assured of the care that she needs, right up until the end of her life, I might feel less stress," Deb writes.
She's in good company. Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden told attendees at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Sunday that they estimate worldwide costs for dementia care at US$ 248 billion per year. Even averaging in lower costs for developing countries, that's almost $9000 per person per year.
In the U.S., costs are probably higher, and much of the burden is carried by families. Here's some estimates on U.S. costs from the Alzheimer's Association:
- Cost of Alzheimer's care $100 billion per year
- Percent of Alzheimer's patients living at home 70
- Percent of care for those patients provided by families 75
- Average annual cost of paid home care for remaining 25% of care $19,000 (most paid by families)
- Average cost of nursing home care per year $42,000
- Average lifetime cost of care for an Alzheimer's patient $174,000
Contrast these numbers with the proposed federal spending on Alzheimer's research for fiscal year 2007: $645 million.
No wonder Deb and others who face these costs every day are stressed out about finances.