A new report by the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is on the rise. Some daunting statistics:
- Alzheimer’s disease affects one in eight people over age 65 (a total of 5.1 million senior citizens).
- In addition, 200,000 younger people experience early onset of the disease, bringing the total number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease to 5.3 million.
- Annual costs associated with caring for people with the disease are estimated at $172 billion, with 10.9 million caregivers (such as family members) who are not paid.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
As Baltimore County, MD personal injury lawyers, we are keenly aware of how vulnerable seniors who suffer from dementia and their families can be. Nursing homes, retirement communities, and skilled nursing centers have a responsibility to care for these special needs patients. Yet sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect can and does occur in Maryland, especially to impaired people who can not speak up for themselves.
Maryland Nursing Homes and Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease statistics in Maryland reflect the rising trend in the rest of the country, as the Baby Boom generation ages and more people are living longer — and becoming impaired by this cruel disease. The Alzheimer’s Association offers these sobering statistics for the State of Maryland:
- In 2000, there were 78,000 people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias living in Maryland.
- By 2010, that number had increased to 86,000 people with the disease living in Maryland — an increase of 10 percent.
- Of the 65,573 people living in Maryland nursing homes in 2008, more than half had cognitive impairment, and 37% had severe to moderate impairment.
- If Alzheimer’s disease continues to become more prevalent, 15% of people age 65 and older in Maryland will have some form of dementia by 2020, and 28% of Maryland senior citizens (100,000 people) will suffer from dementia by 2025.
Maryland Alzheimer’s Patients Who Wander and Become Missing Persons
Another concern among families, elder care professionals, and public safety officials is the risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to walk or drive off and become missing persons. Six in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander (Source: ProjectJason.org). Too often we read news stories of a senior citizen who has wandered away from their home or a nursing home and becomes at risk of being injured or killed in a traffic pedestrian accident, or of dying from exposure or injury if they get lost or wander into a remote area. In addition, people with progressing dementia who are still driving are at risk of becoming confused and getting lost on the road, and causing death or injury to themselves and others if they become involved in a serious car accident.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that if the disease continues to progress unchecked, by 2050 an estimated 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Association: 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures (PDF)
Project Jason: Aging Persons with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Increase Missing Person Statistics (PDF)
Related Web Resources
National Institutes of Health (NIH): Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Association (homepage)