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Study highlights dementia burden on caregivers

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If you needed another argument for long-term care, here it is. A report released earlier this month by the Alzheimer’s Association found over 5 million Americans suffer from the disease. An overwhelming majority of those are 65 or older, but the Association estimates there are 500,000 Americans under 65 who suffer from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.

The study predicts there will be half a million new cases this year, and that by 2050 there will be almost a million new cases. The Association estimates that the total cost of care for dementia will be $172 billion in 2010.

In 2009, nearly 11 million unpaid caregivers were taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Together they provided over 12 billion hours of care. Sixty percent of caregivers were struggling to balance those duties with a full-time or part-time job. Various studies have come to different conclusions about the burden Alzheimer’s places on caregivers, but they agree that people caring for someone with the disease provide more hours of care than those caring for people with other conditions.