FYI Daily

17.4 Billion Hours: Time Alzheimer's Caregivers Put in Last Year

Last updated:

March 09, 2012

If you weren't an Alzheimer's caregiver, ever wonder what you might be doing with all the time you pour into the role? Unpaid family caregivers put in 17.4 billion hours providing Alzheimer's care last year, according to the just-released 2012 Alzheimer's Facts and Figures annual report from the Alzheimer's Association.

More shockingly big numbers that the report noted about Alzheimer's caregivers:

  • Unpaid caregivers' time, collectively, was worth $210 billion in 2011.

  • Eighty percent of Alzheimer's care provided at home is performed by family caregivers.

  • There are more than 15 million Americans providing unpaid Alzheimer's care. If they all lived in one state, it would be the fifth most populous state in the country!

  • Sixty-one percent of family members caring for someone with Alzheimer's or another dementia rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high. And 33 percent report having signs of depression.

  • Due to the physical and emotional toll of caregiving on their own health, Alzheimer's caregivers had $8.7 billion in additional health care costs in 2011.

The report also contains these blockbuster statistics about the disease, which currently affects 5.4 million Americans (one in eight older Americans):

  • Alzheimer's disease costs Medicare and Medicaid $140 billion a year. -- individual Medicare costs are nearly three times higher than for an older American without the disease and Medicaid costs are 19 times higher.

  • One in seven people with Alzheimer's lives alone, and half of those don't have an identifiable caregiver.

  • Alzheimer's is still the sixth-leading cause of death in the country -- and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that can't be prevented, cured, or even significantly slowed.

Image by Flickr user Richard Winchell, used under a Creative Commons license.