Texas set for 40 percent increase in Alzheimer’s

Aging baby boomers to put huge care burden on Generation X

Abilene, Grand Prairie and San Marcos are among the top 25 places in the country to retire, according to Forbes magazine. Low taxes, warm weather and a booming economy make Texas an ideal place to spend your golden years.

But demographic shifts and an aging baby boomer population are also leading another trend in Texas — an explosion in the number of seniors suffering with Alzheimer’s. A new study by the Alzheimer’s Association warns the Lone Star State is set to see a 40 percent increase in the number of Texans suffering with the crippling disease.

Alzheimer’s already touches most families. Nationwide, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the study also revealed.

But in Texas, as the baby boomer population ages, the number of people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is expected to rise from 350,000 to more than 490,000 by 2025.

While the costs of caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s are high for the state, they are often overwhelming for families. The Alzheimer’s Association study delved into the toll the disease takes on them, as well. In Texas alone, there are about 1,359,000 people who provide daily care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Together, their unpaid labor of love would cost almost $19 billion to replace.

The psychological toll on loved ones is unquantifiable. Nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high, according to the association’s study. About 40 percent suffer from depression. One in five care contributors cut back on their own doctor visits because of their care responsibilities. And among caregivers, 74 percent report they are “somewhat” to “very” concerned about maintaining their own health since becoming a caregiver.