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Costs Tied to Early Dementia Are Twice Those of Over-65 Cases

Costs Tied to Early Dementia Are Twice Those of Over-65 Cases
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Thursday, 05 October 2017 03:05 PM

Younger people diagnosed with a common form of dementia that strikes before age 60 bear a far more severe economic burden than those diagnosed later in life, according to a new study out of Florida Atlantic University.

In fact, average annual costs associated with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) – the most common dementia for younger people – total $119,654, nearly twice the reported annual expenditures associated with Alzheimer's disease.

The study, which will appear in the November 14 issue of the journal Neurology, is the first in the U.S. to focus on quantifying FTD's economic impacts on individuals diagnosed with the condition and their families.

“Frontotemporal degeneration is associated with substantial direct and indirect costs, diminished quality of life, and increased caregiver burden,” said lead researcher Dr. James Galvin, associate dean for clinical research in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and a leading expert on Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“Most patients with this disease are working age and have to leave the labor force during their peak earning years. Caregivers of these patients also may need to alter their careers to provide care. Combined, these factors contribute to substantial decrease in household income.”

FTD accounts for 20 percent to 50 percent of dementia cases in people under the age of 65. Like other forms of dementia, it robs individuals of memory, cognition, language, and motor function.

For the study, Galvin and his colleagues conducted a web-based survey of 674 individuals to characterize the patient and caregiver experience with FTD-related costs, quality of life, and other factors.

At the time of the survey, 45 percent of caregivers still worked, while 37 percent were no longer employed after the patient’s FTD diagnosis.

Among the study findings:

  • Overall household income 12 months before an FTD diagnosis ranged from $75,000 to $99,000, but declined after diagnosis from $50,000 to $59,999.
  • Total direct costs associated with FTD (value of goods and services) were $47,916 and total indirect costs were $71,737; combined annual costs were $119,654.
  • 67 percent of the caregivers reported a notable decline in their own health and that 53 percent reported increased personal health care costs.
  • On average, caregivers had seven clinician visits and slightly less than one inpatient admission per year. On average, patients had six overnight respite stays, 16 daytime respite stays, 35 clinician visits, and two hospital or emergency room visits.
  • About 32 percent of respondents needed to hire a paid caregiver several times per week; 6 percent required police intervention; and 6 percent required contacting a lawyer for various reasons such as bankruptcy, loss of business, loss of home or legal guardianship.

“We hope that our study will provide a better understanding of the substantial socioeconomic burden of frontotemporal degeneration and deliver the needed evidence to help inform health care policy, drive research agendas, and enhance targeted allocation of resources that will lead to timely and accurate diagnosis as well as effective treatments where none exist today,” said Galvin.

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Younger people diagnosed with a common form of dementia that strikes before age 60 bear a far more severe economic burden than those diagnosed later in life, according to a new FAU study.
dementia, early, alzheimer, costs
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2017-05-05
Thursday, 05 October 2017 03:05 PM
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