An estimated 5.4 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer's disease. That leads to … 14.9 million unpaid caregivers, $183 billion in annual costs. So begins the latest report from the Alzheimer's Assn.
The report, 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, sheds more light on the toll the disease takes on not just patients but caregivers.
"Unpaid caregivers are primarily family members, but they also include other relatives and friends," the report says. "In 2010, they provided 17 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at over $202 billion."
With that commitment to care comes a heavy personal cost. Sixty percent are women and most are older than 55. Sixty-one percent of caregivers reported high to very high emotional stress and 57% reported high to very high physical stress.