A new report just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) has revealed a startling statistic. Researchers now predict that the number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States will soar in the next four decades, creating a health care crisis that could be three times worse than what society is facing today.
Alzheimer’s Cases will Triple
“The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease will nearly triple over the next 40 years,” says an NBC News report from just a few days ago, “unless something dramatic happens to change trends.” According to the CDC, there are currently about 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, representing about 1.6 percent of the population. “But by 2060, that number will hit nearly 14 million, which will then be 3.3 percent of the projected population,” NBC reports. You’ll find the complete NBC News story by clicking here.
Here at AgingOptions we share this information not to alarm our readers and radio listeners but to help prepare you for what lies ahead for many retirees. According to this very comprehensive 2018 fact sheet from the publication Alzheimer’s and Dementia, about 10 percent of the 65-plus population in the U.S. has Alzheimer’s disease, but that figure is misleading since prevalence of dementia rises rapidly with age. The actual Alzheimer’s percentage among those in the 65-74 age is closer to 3 percent, rising to 17 percent for 75-84 years olds and jumping to about one-third of Americans 85 and older. With statistics like those, it’s highly likely you or someone close to you will be personally affected by this dreaded cognitive disease for which there is presently no known cure. This makes it essential that you and your family do some advance planning in order to protect your assets and help you avoid becoming a burden to those you love. We’ll tell you how a bit further on.
Good News, Bad News
Ironically, according to both the CDC and the Alzheimer’s publication data, one of the reasons dementia cases are on the rise is actually good news: people are living longer. “The number of Americans surviving into their 80s, 90s and beyond is expected to grow dramatically due to medical advances, as well as social and environmental conditions,” says the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Fact Sheet. These longer life expectancies will lead to an increase in the number and percentage of Americans who are termed “the oldest-old,” those 85 and older. By 2050, these oldest-old men and women will make up more than one-fifth of the 65-plus population, a figure which translates into “an additional 12 million oldest-old people—individuals at the highest risk for developing Alzheimer’s dementia.” In other words, the good news that we’re living longer is coupled with the bad news of increasing numbers of those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is presently the fifth most common cause of death for those 65 and older, but that number – as bad as it is – masks the insidious nature of this disease. Alzheimer’s and Dementia reports that “it is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Although deaths from other major causes have decreased significantly, official records indicate that deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased significantly,” with the number of deaths more than doubling between 2000 and 2015.
A Caregiving Crisis
No discussion of Alzheimer’s disease would be complete without considering the issue of caregiving. “Alzheimer’s is a very burdensome disease, not only to the patients but also to their families and informal caregivers, and that the burden of Alzheimer’s has increased more dramatically in the United States than other diseases in recent years,” says the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Fact Sheet. Research shows that more than 16 million Americans currently provide unpaid care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, providing an estimated 18 billion hours of care. Two-thirds of these caregivers are women, many of whom have quit work and otherwise put their lives on hold to care for a loved one.
But there’s one more element to this “perfect storm” – a critical shortage of paid caregivers. Families who turn to outside agencies for help will encounter a severe looming shortage in the availability of professional health care workers. In researching this article, we found several sources, such as this article from early 2017, sounding the alarm. “As the largest generation ever to retire ages, demand for senior care services will inevitably skyrocket,” the article states. “Among these services, home care in particular will experience massive growth over the next decade because Americans more and more want to stay at home rather than move to a dedicated facility.” However, the home care industry is facing “a major crisis that is not discussed enough: the impending caregiver shortage.” What this could mean for you is plain to see. “Unless a solution emerges for the caregiver shortage, a large number of seniors may not have [the option of in-home care] and may have to move to a dedicated facility,” which likely means assisted living, a group home, or skilled nursing care.
Plan Ahead for Peace of Mind Tomorrow
To summarize: people are living longer. That means dementia cases will inevitably rise. But a critical shortage of home health care workers will put a greater burden than ever on families like yours. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to a situation like this, so the very best thing you and your family must do now while you are healthy is to set up a proper strategy for your eventual care, a strategy which should become part of an over-arching retirement blueprint we call a LifePlan. A LifePlan from AgingOptions is the only retirement plan we know of that actual weaves together all the various strands of retirement – your financial strategy, your medical coverage, your housing options, your legal protection, and your family communication – into one integrated plan, instead of the typical piecemeal approach other planners often employ. A LifePlan will guide you as you build the secure and fruitful retirement you’ve hoped for.
We invite you to take a simple, no-obligation next step and join Rajiv Nagaich at one of our highly popular LifePlanning Seminars. We offer several of these free events almost every month, so you can click here for our current schedule and then select the date, time and location that works for you. Plan ahead today and experience greater peace of mind tomorrow, whatever the future may hold, with the power of an AgingOptions LifePlan. Age on!
(originally reported at www.nbcnews.com and other soiurces)