By Scott Finley
Manager of Media Engagement, Texas Alzheimer's Association
Right now, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. In Texas, this amounts to over 400,000 Texans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias with an expected growth of more than 20% by 2050.
The Alzheimer’s Association is partnering with TAFP to provide a variety of resources to support family physicians throughout the disease continuum, including early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, management of these conditions, and care planning and support services following a diagnosis.
VALUE IN ASSESSMENT
Ninety-four percent of primary care providers consider it important to assess all patients 65 or older for cognitive impairment, but fewer than half say it is their standard protocol. Additionally, 82% of seniors believe it’s important to have their thinking and memory checked, but only one in seven receive regular cognitive assessments for memory or thinking issues during health check-ups.
To address this issue, the Alzheimer’s Association is uniquely positioned to work with you and provide guidance on which assessment tools to use, how to use these tools, next steps when assessment indicates an issue, and how to implement tools into your practice.
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the United States. In 2019, total payments for caring for Americans age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s or other dementias surpassed a quarter of a trillion dollars ($290 billion). These costs stemmed from increased hospitalizations and emergency room visits for people with Alzheimer’s as well as the complications dementia adds to the management of other conditions. More than 95% of those with Alzheimer’s have one or more other chronic conditions that requires better medical management when accompanied by dementia. Studies have shown that early diagnosis and proper management of Alzheimer’s and other dementias can improve health outcomes and reduce costs.
Together, we can improve how Alzheimer’s is addressed in clinical practice to improve patient outcomes and reduce dementia care costs across Texas.
For a complete listing of available resources, go to: https://www.alz.org/professionals/health-systems-clinicians. For more information about the facts and figures referenced, click here.
We share and appreciate your commitment to the health and well-being of our senior communities. Despite the COVID crisis, like you, we keep going. Please remind your families and in particular, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers, that the Alzheimer’s Association is available 24/7 for around-the-clock care and support at 1 (800) 272-3900.