HealthDay News — As more baby boomers age, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have risen 54.5%, and in many cases the heavy burden of caregiving has fallen on loved ones, according to research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Counties with the highest Alzheimer’s mortality rates are mostly in the Southeast, according to the report. Clusters are also seen in the Midwest and on the West Coast. To come to their conclusions, the CDC researchers culled state and county death certificate data from the National Vital Statistics System.
The mortality rate from Alzheimer’s increased 54.5% — from 16.5 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 25.4 per 100,000 in 2014. Most Alzheimer’s patients die in a nursing home or long-term care facility, but that number has dropped from 67.5% in 1999 to 54.1% in 2014. For patients dying at home, that number increased from 13.9 to 24.9%, according to the report.
“With more people dying at home, there is an increased need for caregivers, because in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, patients are completely dependent on caregivers. At home, a lot of times it’s done by friends and family,” report author Christopher Taylor, PhD, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, told HealthDay. This suggests that many of these caregivers would benefit from more support, including education and other services, he said.
Taylor CA, Greenlund SF, McGuire LC, Lu H, Croft JB. Deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease — United States, 1999–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66:521–526. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6620a1