This year, the first baby boomers will begin to turn 65 years old and advance into greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s – in fact, one out of eight boomers will develop the disease.
By 2030, the segment of the U.S. population aged 65 years and older is expected to double. At that time, the estimated 71 million older Americans will make up approximately 20 percent of the total population. The increased numbers of people with Alzheimer’s will have a marked impact on states’ healthcare systems, not to mention families and caregivers.
Of the 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease today, 5.1 of them are aged 65 or older. While Alzheimer’s disease was the seventh-leading cause of death across all ages in the United States in 2006, it was the fifth-leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older.
By 2050, the number of individuals aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is projected to number between 11 million and 16 million — unless medical breakthroughs identify ways to prevent or more effectively treat the disease. Barring such developments, by 2050 more than 60 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease will be aged 85 or older.
The sheer cost of Alzheimer’s will also burden the baby boomer generation. Income and asset data are not available for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, but the median income for people aged 65 and older was $18,208 in 2008. Even for older people whose incomes fall comfortably above the median, the costs of home care, adult day center services, assisted living or nursing home care can quickly exceed their income.
With the Baby Boomer Alzheimer crisis looming, the Alzheimer’s Association continues its work to end Alzheimer’s through research, advocacy, support and education. The chart below illustrates the big-picture view of how the Alzheimer’s Association makes a difference for baby boomers and future generations. Plus, stay tuned for a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association about Baby Boomers that will be released at the end of January.