May 21, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Brace Yourselves for Alzheimer's Boom by 2050

Nov 14, 2014 08:19 PM EST

While treatments are being discovered recently for Alzheimer's disease, the degenerative illness is expected to boom in the U.S in the next 30 years, according to a new study.

According to WebMD, the disease will more than double by 2050, "which is a trend driven by the aging baby boomer population." Also, expenses accompanying Alzheimer's will also drastically increase,

The study, which was published online in the journal Forum for Health Economics and Policy this week, says that the cost of caring for Alzheimer's patients will increase from $307 billion to $1.5 trillion a year by 2050. WebMD reports that 35 years from now, the average annual per-patient cost of the disease will be double that of the $71,000-a-year cost in 2010.

Julie Zissimopoulos, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California, says "It is so expensive because individuals with Alzheimer's need extensive help with daily activities provided by paid caregivers or by family members who may be taking time off of work to care for them, which has a double impact on the economy,"

"In late stages of the disease, they need help with personal care and lose the ability to control movement, which requires 24-hour care, most often in an institutional setting," she added.

The majority of these costs are paid for by Medicare and Medicard, the researchers said. And that means the government will incur millions of dollars of bills.

The number of Americans aged 65 and older is estimated to increase from about 43 million in 2012 (14 per cent of the population) to nearly 84 million by 2050 (21 per cent of the population). Between 2010 and 2050, there will be a 153 per cent rise in the number of people 70 and older with Alzheimer's -- from 3.6 million to 9.1 million -- according to the University of Southern California researchers.

"Our colleagues in the medical field are working on ways to understand how the disease interferes with brain processes -- and then stop it. Investment in their work now could yield huge benefits down the line," Zissimopoulos said. 

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