One of the greatest challenges of Alzheimer’s disease is the personal and financial burden it places on people with the disease, their families, caregivers and friends. Alzheimer’s patients in the severe stage of the disease are often completely dependent on others for care. An early diagnosis may help families as they make treatment, financial and personal decisions for their loved ones.
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease can be overwhelming, and research shows that caregivers who do not have an adequate support network in place are at increased risk for depression and illness.
In 2010, 14.9 million (unpaid) caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provided an estimated 17 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at more than US$202 billion. In addition, for every US$100 the government spends on Alzheimer’s research, it spends more than US$25,000 on care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.