The cost of caring for Alzheimer's patients is rising every day -- not only for the families of those suffering from the illness, but on a national level as well.
It can cost families thousands of dollars every month to care for a loved one with the disease, and it will cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars to care for Alzheimer's patients this year alone, making it one of the most expensive diseases in history.
Right now in America, more than 15 million people provide 210 billion dollars in unpaid care for Alzheimer's and other dementia patients.
"The out–of–pocket costs for families are significant," Alexandra Dillon, associate director for the Alzheimer's Association, said. "You have expensive medications, you have family members who often are trying to keep the person at home as long as they can, and are strapped in terms of their ability to care for these people, and often you have co–existing medical conditions -- you have additional illnesses -- that are trying to be managed, along with Alzheimer's."
In today's economy, coming up with the money to pay for a loved one's Alzheimer's treatment can financially devastate a family.
For Kearney resident Mitch Bean, who lost his mother to the disease four years ago, those expenses reached into the tens of thousands of dollars per year.
"Toward the end, the monthly fee was in excess of $5,000 a month, so over $60,000 a year," he said.
Over time, those costs add up.
"She was in a care facility for five years, so it can be very expensive and it is a very long journey for the family and the patient," he said.
Bean was fortunate, though, because his parents had enough money saved to cover his mother's medical care; but not everyone is so lucky.
And this year alone, it will cost our society an estimated 200 billion dollars to care for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias, including 140 billion dollars in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.
"Medicare and Medicaid will spend over 800 billion caring for people with Alzheimer's disease by 2025 if we don't find a disease–altering drug," Dillon said.