In 2021, in the United States, about 6.2 million people over the age of 65 were living with Alzheimer’s. As the nation progressively gets older, this number is expected to more than double to 13 million by 2050. People living with Alzheimer’s make up 11.3% of all people over the age of 65.
Out of the 6.2 million people living with dementia, seventy-two percent of them are 75 years of age or older. Like many other medical conditions, Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects women and people of color. About two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s are women. Older black Americans are twice as likely to get dementia compared with their white counterparts. Older Hispanics are about one and a half times more likely to have Alzheimer’s when compared to their white counterparts.
To fight Alzheimer’s, implementing new technologies is crucial for early detection and subsequent treatment. Cognes aims to democratize this technology and, in the process, help the millions of people who have Alzheimer’s across the world.
Mortality and Alzheimer’s
Though primarily associated with memory loss, Alzheimer’s is much more than that. Alzheimer’s has a very high cost when it comes to life. Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast and prostate cancer combined. One in three seniors loses their life to Alzheimer’s or some other type of dementia.
Despite the other causes of death dropping significantly in recent years due to advancements in medical technology and better access to health care, from 2000 to 2019, the number of death certificates with Alzheimer’s as the cause of death more than doubled, seeing an increase of 145.2%. This is when the rate of death from heart disease is the number one cause of mortality in America, falling by 7.3%.
61% of people aged 70 and over living with Alzheimer’s are expected to die before the age of 80. Otherwise, only 30% of people without Alzheimer’s over the age of 70 are expected to die before the age of 80. This number of mortalities between the two groups is almost twice as high.
Alzheimer’s progression is often slow and uncertain, which gives a lot of anxiety to the patient and those around them. When diagnosed, people over the age of 65 or older live for an average of four to eight years, while others may live as long as 20 years longer.
The Cost of Alzheimer’s on Caregivers
Most of the help received for older adults comes primarily from friends and family and is mostly unpaid. Close to 50% of all caregivers for older adults do so for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The unpaid care given by family members and friends is worth about $256.7 billion in America.
Most of the caregivers are typically disproportionally female, making up about two-thirds of them being female. A large proportion of these caregivers also tend to be older, with a third of them being over the age of 65. Many of these caregivers, approximately 25%, have to take care of children under the age of 18 in addition to the people living with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s takes an enormous toll on caregivers compared to caring for those without dementia. These caregivers report suffering from many emotional, financial, and even physical difficulties.
The Monetary Cost of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s can have a tremendous strain on the finances of the caregivers of the patients. The patient’s family bears about 70% of the costs associated with Alzheimer’s, most of them in the form of out-of-pocket payments, unpaid care, and long-term costs associated with care.
Today, Alzheimer’s is one of the costliest medical conditions in America. In 2021, it was estimated that Alzheimer’s costs America about $355 billion, with $239 billion in Medicare and Medicaid. This number is expected to balloon to about $1.1 trillion by 2050 if there are no attempts to slow down the progress of the disease.
When compared to other older people, people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia have twice as many stays in the hospital. They also receive more day and nursing home care when compared to older people without dementia. They also have more hospital visits and the use of more skilled nurses. All these services have cost implications that affect them and the wider community at large.
Cognes and Alzheimer’s
Though at the moment, Alzheimer’s does not have a cure, doctors can do a lot to limit the brunt of the effects coming from the disease. To effectively do this, early detection is essential to the process. This is where Cognes comes in.
Currently, the methods used to detect Alzheimer’s are typically prohibitively expensive. Cognes offers a non-invasive alternative that allows anyone, anywhere, to get a test.
How does Cognes work?
Through a smartphone, the software uses machine learning to analyze an individual’s facial and cerebral features to determine the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. It does this at every stage of the disease, making it a lot more effective and detecting Alzheimer’s early enough to begin treatment that could yield greater quality of life down the line.
Since the technology works with millions of faces worldwide, it can avoid the biases that humans may have. This allows the technology to pick out nuances that may otherwise get missed, making it a lot more effective.
Cognes is accessible to millions of people across the world, and this technology can reach most of the 50–80% of people with Alzheimer’s who remain undiagnosed to date.