What is the cost of Dementia to its victims?
The results of an October 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine examining “social costs and financial risks faced by Medicare beneficiaries 5 years before death,” (http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2466364), showed a significantly higher cost for those individuals who died of Dementia as opposed to those individuals who died of other causes.
The study compared 1,702 deceased Medicare beneficiaries, classified into 4 groups as follows: persons with high probability of Dementia; those who died due to heart disease; those who died of cancer; and those who died of other causes.
Over a five-year period, the average cost of care for the Dementia patient was $287,038. In contrast, the heart disease patient’s average cost for the same period of time was $175,136 and the cancer patient’s cost was $173,383.
The reason for this is that Dementia requires more caregiving than many other illnesses. As the disease progresses, Dementia patients may need more assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, dressing, and toileting.
Additionally, Dementia patients may need someone just to protect them from themselves, and this consistent level of supervision or oversight can be expensive.