An estimated 15 million Americans will develop Alzheimer’s disease by 2060, according to researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The December 2017 study is the first of its kind to estimate the numbers of Americans with preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study found that 5.7 million Americans will have mild cognitive impairment and another 9.3 million will develop dementia by 2060. Of the latter group, about 4 million Americans will require the level of care provided in memory care facilities.
“Estimates by disease state and severity are important because the resources needed to care for patients vary so much over the course of the illness,” Ron Brookmeyer, professor of biostatistics at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, stated in a UCLA Newsroom report.
There are numerous approaches to caring for dementia patients; however, there is no consensus on the most effective treatment. In May 2018, UCLA’s Division of Geriatrics received a $13.6 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to compare care given over 18 months to 1,534 participants with dementia in four U.S. cities.
“Whether a care team working within the health system can do a better job than a community-based care manager in coordinating the health and social needs of persons with dementia and their families is a fundamental, unanswered question,” stated Dr. David Reuben, Archstone Professor of Medicine and chief of the UCLA Division of Geriatric, in another UCLA Newsroom report.
Many clinical studies test whether a treatment works under ideal conditions in specialized research centers, but health care is rarely delivered in idealized situations and settings, Ruben noted. In this study, researchers will track the behavior of patients and the impact on caregivers as well as assess differences between long-term assisted living and living in their own homes.