A family caring for a parent with Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia can expect to pay about $51,000 a year in medical costs, says a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. All told, Americans spent up to $215 billion on dementia care in 2010, making it more expensive than cancer or heart disease, reports HealthDay via US News & World Report. The biggest factor—accounting for 84% of the total—is the cost of long-term care, either in a nursing home or in the patient's home.
And a quick look at the nation's demographics makes clear that the problem is only going to get worse, reports CBS News. "Our calculations suggest that the aging of the US population will result in an increase of nearly 80% in total societal costs per adult by 2040," wrote the researchers. Two things would help, they add: Better insurance to cover long-term care or a breakthrough in drugs that would delay the onset of dementia.