A simulation of costs associated with dementia and caring for an individual with dementia indicated substantial increases in lifetime care costs, most of which were incurred by families.
“The modeling structure I used was able to synthesize data from different sources and put them together to form this long-term picture, over the course of the disease, that currently doesn't exist in any one place,” Eric Jutkowitz, PhD, of Brown University, said in a press release. “Each of the data points are part of the broader picture. By themselves, they can't tell us anything about how costs unfold over the course of the disease, but they all come together to develop this picture.”
To estimate the cost of dementia and the cost of caring for someone with dementia, researchers developed an evidence-based mathematical model to simulate disease progression for newly diagnosed individuals with dementia. Disease progression and cost predictions were derived from data-driven trajectories of cognition, function, and behavioral and psychological symptoms.
From time of diagnosis at a mean age of 83 years, discounted total lifetime cost of care for an individual with dementia was estimated at $321,780.
Families accounted for 70% of total cost burden, approximately $225,140; Medicaid accounted for 14% ($44,090); and Medicare accounted for 16% ($52,540).
Lifetime costs for an individual with dementia were $184,500 greater than costs for an individual without dementia. Of this, 86% was incurred by families.
Total annual cost peaked at $89,000 and net cost peaked at $72,400.
A 10% reduction in functional decline or behavioral and psychological symptoms was associated with $3,880 and $680 lower lifetime costs, compared with natural disease progression.
“A lot of people, I think, believe that Medicare will pay for their long-term care,” Jutkowitz said in the release. “That's not the case. Private long-term care insurance may help, but benefits can be exhausted and few families have policies. For a disease like dementia, the burden and cost falls on the individual and the family.” – by Amanda Oldt
The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.