Dementia Care More Costly than Cancer or Heart Disease

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Caring for family or friends who suffer from dementia can be physically, emotionally and mentally taxing. Now a new study shows that treating dementia also takes its toll financially. In fact, according to the study's findings, it is more costly to provide care for dementia patients than it is to treat cancer or heart disease.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found in 2010 that between $157 billion and $215 billion was spent on dementia care. The annual cost per person ranged from more than $41,000 to just over $56,000.

The Researchers found that the bulk of that money was not spent on medication or treatment, however.  They estimate that about 80 percent of those funds were used for nursing home or at-home care.

Given the aging population of the United States, the outlook is bleak, the study authors say.

They expect the cost of dementia could double by 2040 unless progress is made to improve treatment of the disease.  

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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