Study finds women bear heavier economic burden for Alzheimer's care

An Emory study published today in the journal Women's Health Issues finds women bear six times the cost of Alzheimer's disease (AD) care, per capita, that men do. The authors say the greater cost burden is largely due to the informal care women deliver to family members with AD. 

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and is ultimately fatal. It is also one of the most expensive diseases in our country—more costly than heart disease or cancer. 

Authors Zhou Yang, PhD, assistant professor in Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, and Allan Levey, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology, director of the Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and NS faculty member, used a lifetime perspective to calculate AD costs and looked at three factors: the probability of developing the disease, the disease's duration, and the formal and informal care needed for the AD patient.

Yang and Levey used 2000-2010 data from the nationally representative Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey to calculate costs for clinical care paid by Medicare, long-term-care costs paid by Medicaid, out-of-pocket costs for care at home, and the costs of informal, uncompensated costs. The study was initiated in coordination with WomenAgainstAlzheimer's, an advocacy group committed to stopping Alzheimer's by 2020.

Click here to view the full story in the Emory News Center. The story is also featured in the Albany Herald.