Majority of Dementia Care Costs Fall on Families

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The discounted total lifetime cost of care was $321,780 for a person with dementia.
The discounted total lifetime cost of care was $321,780 for a person with dementia.

HealthDay News — Lifetime costs of care are substantially increased for individuals with dementia, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Eric Jutkowitz, PhD, from the School of Public Health at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues developed an evidence-based mathematical model to simulate disease progression for newly diagnosed dementia. The investigators predicted costs from data-driven trajectories of cognition, function, and behavioral and psychological symptoms.

The researchers found that from the time of diagnosis, the discounted total lifetime cost of care was $321,780 for a person with dementia. Families incurred 70% of the total cost burden, while Medicaid and Medicare accounted for 14% and 16%, respectively. Over a lifetime, costs for a person with dementia were $184,500 greater than for someone without dementia (86% incurred by families). 

The total annual and net costs peaked at $89,000 and $72,400, respectively. A 10% reduction in functional decline or behavioral and psychological symptoms resulted in $3880 and $680 lower lifetime costs than natural disease progression.

"Dementia substantially increases lifetime costs of care," the authors wrote. "Long-lasting, effective interventions are needed to support families because they incur the most dementia cost."

Reference

Jutkowitz E, Kane RL, Gaugler JE, MacLehose RF, Dowd B, Kuntz KM. Societal and family lifetime cost of dementia: implications for policy [published online August 17, 2017]. J Am Geriatr Soc. doi:10.1111/jgs.15043

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