WASHINGTON, DC -- The Alzheimer’s Association released its 2024 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report this week, highlighting that the burden and cost of Alzheimer’s disease continues to grow.  The report estimates that 6.9 million older Americans – including 22,000 Rhode Islanders -- are living with Alzheimer's disease in 2024, a nationwide increase of about 200,000 cases over last year, and the population is projected to nearly double by 2060 to 14 million people.

Noting the heavy public health, social, and economic toll the disease is taking, U.S. Senator Jack Reed says the statistics underscore the urgent need for Congress to take action to help provide support to Americans living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers who are under increasing strain.  The senator is also urging his colleagues to fund promising research to find a cure and better treatments, including boosting early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

“The prevalence of Alzheimer’s is growing.  This report is a call to action to address a national health risk and help more Americans struggling with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia as they age.  Finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and improving the quality of life for people with dementia requires a coordinated strategy and robust federal investment.  Congress must invest in promising therapies and research, and also help stress the importance of preventative steps to help people reduce lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer’s or dementia and ensure people can get properly screened and diagnosed,” said Senator Reed

Senator Reed helped pass the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406) in 2018 and is supporting legislation (S.3775) to reauthorize the law this Congress. 

Reed is also cosponsoring the National Alzheimer’s Project Reauthorization Act (S.133).  The NAPA Reauthorization Act would reauthorize and update the National Alzheimer’s Project Act through 2035, which required the federal government to create a national strategic plan for Alzheimer’s.  Senator Reed is also cosponsoring the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act (S.134), which would continue through 2035 a requirement that the Director of the National Institutes of Health submit an annual budget to Congress estimating the funding necessary to fully implement NAPA’s research goals.  

As a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Senator Reed helped provide a $100 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research in the fiscal year 2024 minibus appropriations bill now being considered by Congress.  In 2019, NIH awarded Brown University researchers, along with Boston-based Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), over $53 million in federal research funds  to lead a nationwide effort to improve health care and quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well as their caregivers.

Adults face a higher risk of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia as they age.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2024 report, the annual cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia will be $360 billion in 2024, up $15 billion over the previous year.  The report also found:

  • 6.9 million Americans aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia, with 29,600 residing in Rhode Island.
  • Nationwide, between 2000 and 2021, the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease as recorded on death certificates more than doubled, increasing 141 percent.
  • There were 36,000 dementia family caregivers in Rhode Island, who helped provide a combined 51 million hours of care.
  • Alzheimer’s disease costs the United States an estimated $360 billion per year.

The $360 billion in total payments for Alzheimer’s does not included the value of informal caregiving, according to the report.  Medicare and Medicaid are expected to cover $231 billion, or 64 percent, of the total health care and long-term care payments for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.  Out-of-pocket spending is expected to be $91 billion, or 25 percent of total payments.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide non-profit health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and, research.