Alzheimer’s Association predicts 12% increase in diagnoses by 2025

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Alzheimer’s Association released a new report on Wednesday, highlighting a need in care for Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones. The findings show the demand is increasing, more than ever before.

According to the report, there’s a growing increase in the number of diagnoses for patients ages 65 and older. It’s estimated to jump 12% by 2025.

Teresa Galbier, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Association in Rochester and Finger Lakes region said both professional and unpaid caregivers are feeling the strain of this. She says the healthcare system as a whole is in crisis mode, with persistent staffing shortages.

Galbier said caregivers are facing both physical and emotional stress.

Right now over 400,000 New Yorkers are living with the disease, according to the report. At the same time, there’s about 546,000 unpaid caregivers in New York State. Alzheimer’s Association’s findings show 59% of these caregivers suffer from some chronic health condition. Nearly 25% suffer from depression, and 12% say they’re facing poor physical health as a result of stress.

To better understand this situation, we spoke to a local man who lost his father to Alzheimer’s in 2018. Matthew Mann helped take care of his dad for ten years alongside his siblings, with his mother as the sole caretaker. He said this experience changed their lives forever, and was certainly an emotional challenge.

“All of my siblings were involved in his care, and it was a 24/7 job,” said Mann.

The diagnosis happened ten years prior, and was a complete blow to his family, as he describes it:

“My mom was his full-time caregiver,” he said. “She was also losing her partner. She was losing the person she made all the decisions with.”

Mann’s dad was an engineer, and loved to build things. But Mann recalls the memories where things started to change.

“We were working on a project that would’ve been trivial when he was healthy, but he was having trouble,” he said.

So what’s causing an increase in diagnoses?

Galbier said a few different things; and it’s not just the baby boomer generation.

“Number one we are living longer,” she said. “If you have a longer lifespan, you are going to potentially be impacted by Alzheimer’s and other Dementias. Another reason is we’ve had better diagnostic techniques,” said Galbier.

She said much of the care is provided by unpaid family caregivers and loved ones.

The burden of this can be heavy, and Galbier said there needs to be more resources to turn to and professional support.

“It’s the number one growing professional need of any industry in the United States today, so we have to respond to that. We can’t be reactive,” said Galbier. “We have to recruit and retain that workforce, and in order to do that we have to pay a good living wage.”

The report predicts a need of over 700,000 professional caregivers by 2025, to keep up with demand in New York State.

In the meantime, Galbier said many local providers have already taken action to lift hourly rates.

If you are someone struggling, the Alzheimer’s Association is a place you can turn to for support. Galbier said they offer support for families 24 hours a days a week.