Alzheimer’s Association report shines light on caregiver burden, shortage of direct care workforce
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN – The Alzheimer’s Association’s 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report highlights prevalence, caregiver burden and direct care workforce shortages, a release from the Alzheimer’s Association said.
The Alzheimer’s Association said the 2023 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,” the Alzheimer’s Association stated. “Since its 2007 inaugural release, the report has become the preeminent source covering the broad spectrum of Alzheimer’s issues.”
According to the release, the new report released on Wednesday, March 15 “shows there were an estimated 191,000 dementia family caregivers across Wisconsin caring for more than 120,000 on a journey with dementia.”
“The new Facts and Figures report shows that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias continue to be a significant burden for too many Wisconsin families,” said Dave Grams, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter. “It’s critical to continue to work toward advancing new treatments that can stop or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, while also continuing to provide care and support services to help all those affected.”
The report highlighted the following statistics on national prevalence, incidence and mortality:
- An estimated 6.7 million Americans 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in2023 (up from 6.5 million as stated in the 2022 Facts and Figures report).
- About one in nine people (10.8%) age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s dementia.
- The death rate due to Alzheimer’s disease between 2000 and 2019 increased 33% for people age 65 to 74, 51% for people age 75-84 and 78% for people age 85 and older.
- One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
The following caregiving data were also reported:
- In 2022, more than 11 million caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias provided an estimated 18 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at more than $339.5 billion.
- 59% of unpaid caregivers report emotional stress and 38% report physical stress due to caregiving.
- The prevalence of depression is higher among dementia caregivers (30%-40%) when compared to caregivers for other conditions such as schizophrenia (20%) or stroke (19%).
- Dementia caregivers report higher rates of chronic conditions including stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer compared to caregivers of people without dementia or non-caregivers.
Wisconsin statistics were also included in the report:
- 120,000 Wisconsin residents aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s.
- An estimated 130,000 Wisconsin residents will be living with Alzheimer’s in 2025.
- 191,000 Wisconsin residents are currently serving as unpaid family caregivers.
- 213,000,000 hours of unpaid care have been provided, with a total value of $3,970,000,000.00.
Direct care workforce shortage ‘looming’
The year’s report also finds “a shortage looming for direct care workers in Wisconsin and across the country,” according to the release.
“Direct care workers, including nurse aides, nursing assistants, home health aides and personal care aides, play a vital role in caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia in private homes, community-based settings such as adult day services and residential care, skilled nursing homes and other settings,” the release stated. “According to the report, an estimated 1.2 million additional direct care workers will be needed between 2020 and 2030 — more new workers than in any other single occupation in the United States.”
The report provided the following information related to the direct care workforce:
- The shortage of dementia care specialists is a barrier to a timely and accurate diagnosis, and a lack of diagnosis means a delay in treatments, care delivery and supportive services.
- 55% of primary care physicians caring for people living with Alzheimer’s report there are not enough dementia care specialists in their communities to meet patient demands.
- Shortages of geriatricians and neurologists necessary to care for the aging U.S. population – which is expected to grow from 58 million people 65 and older in 2021 to 88 million by 2050 – remains a major challenge, as 13 million Americans are projected to live with Alzheimer’s disease by 2050.
- In Wisconsin, there are only 83 geriatricians. In order to meet the demand by 2050, that number would need to increase by 228.9%.
More information available online
To learn more about the 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, visit www.bit.ly/3YTfBmn.