Alzheimer’s or Other Dementia Increases Likelihood of Chronic Conditions

People with Alzheimer’s or other dementia’s have twice as many hospital stays per year as other older people.

Almost two- thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women. Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s or other dementia’s are more likely than those without dementia to have other chronic conditions.

• More than 85 percent of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s have one or more other chronic conditions.
• Cardiovascular diseases are common chronic conditions among people with Alzheimer’s:

  • 73 percent of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s have hypertension
    38 percent have heart disease
    37 percent have diabetes
    22 percent have had a stroke

• A person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is more than 4.4 times as likely to have six or more other chronic conditions as someone without Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Alzheimer’s disease complicates the management of these other conditions — and as a consequence, increases costs.
• A senior with diabetes and Alzheimer’s costs Medicare 81 percent more than a senior who has diabetes but not Alzheimer’s.
• Similarly, a senior who has heart disease and Alzheimer’s costs Medicare 60 percent more than a senior with only heart disease.
Complications managing other chronic conditions also increase the likelihood of hospitalizations — the most expensive part of the health care system.
• Seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s have twice as many hospital stays each year as those without Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s.
And, on average, seniors with dementia spend more than 22 days in a hospital and skilled nursing facility each year, compared with an overall average for seniors of less than five days.
• About one-quarter of all admissions among people with dementia cost Medicare $4.7 billion in 2013.
• In total, average per person spending on inpatient hospital care is three times greater for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s than for all other seniors. Because of multiple chronic conditions, people with Alzheimer’s are costly to the health care system, even though there is no treatment or cure.
• Average per-person Medicare spending on seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s is more than three times higher than for seniors without Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s.
• One in every 5 Medicare dollars is spent on people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia’s.
• In 2018, Medicare will spend an estimated $140 billion caring for people with Alzheimer’s. ~

Editor’s Note: Article submitted by the Alzheimer’s Association.