Recent estimates from the RAND Corporation suggest that 4.1 million Americans are living with dementia. Although cancer and heart disease kill more people each year, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the United States. Studies indicate that costs associated with Alzheimer’s could top $215 billion dollars a year. Unlike other conditions where drug and treatment costs contribute dramatically to the bottom line, the largest component of Alzheimer’s staggering costs relates to direct care required to assist a person with Alzheimer’s and her activities of daily living. Whether a family supplies care informally or through an agency, it nevertheless impacts the family’s own spending, earnings, and savings.
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