Beyond The Human Toll, Alzheimer's Erodes Family Savings, Costs Billions In Care

Apr 25, 2016

Alzheimer's disease affects family finances in addition to patient and family caregivers, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
Credit Alzheimer's Association of Greater Indiana / Facebook

More than 330,000 unpaid caregivers are providing an estimated $4.6 billion in care for about 100,000 Hoosiers diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The data is among the Alzheimer's Association's recently released annual report highlighting facts and figures about people impacted by the disease.

This year, the national information focuses on the unpaid caregiver.

Program Director for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter Linda Altmeyer says the new data highlight other sacrifices unpaid caregivers make.   

"Often people quit their job or reduce their number of hours, and then often they’ll go without food, they’ll reduce their number of prescriptions because they’re trying to take care of somebody with a disease that’s very expensive," she says.

The 2016 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report also finds that nearly half of care providers dip into retirement or savings.  

That's the situation for Sheryl Chamberlain, who says her husband was diagnosed three years ago.

"He had some other health issues that slowed down his work ,and he owned his own business, therefore there wasn’t a continuous paycheck coming in," she says. " So we have pretty much gone through all of our retirement money."

Total payments for Alzheimer’s care are projected to increase to more than $1 trillion in spending by 2050, compared to $236 billion this year.