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Long-Term Care Needs Improvement For Dementia Patients, Shows Study

    August 6, 2014
    Sean Patterson
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The baby boomer generation is now aging, a situation that is bringing with it a new set of challenges for the U.S. This demographic shift is being most strongly felt in the healthcare industry, where the already burdened American health infrastructure is preparing for an influx of millions of new elderly patients. The Affordable Care Act included new attempts to prepare the industry for these challenges, but many specific problems are still presenting themselves.

A new study by the non-profit RAND Corporation is demonstrating one way the American healthcare system may not be prepared for these new elderly patients. The study shows just how unprepared the U.S. is for a quickly-increasing number of seniors with dementia and related conditions.

The study estimates that around 15 percent of Americans over the age of 70 suffer from some type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses in particular are expected to triple by the year 2050.

The study also warns of the rising costs to the U.S. associated with dementia. RAND estimates that the annual cost of dementia care in the U.S. could double to between $318 million and $430 million by the year 2040.

The RAND study focuses specifically on ways that long-term care for dementia patients can be improved. The organization suggests policy initiatives that include increasing public awareness, improving access to long-term dementia care, and promoting higher-quality care. More support for the families of those with dementia is also suggested, including monetary support. The study also suggests that linking long-term healthcare insurance to normal health insurance could better help families who are struggling financially to care for a loved one with dementia.

“There is no one single path that is the best one to follow to provide better care for people with dementia and improve support for their caregivers,” Regina Shih, lead author of the study and a behavioral scientist at RAND. “But what is clearly needed is more and quicker action around a set of recommendations to respond to this large and growing problem.”

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  • http://www.longtermcareprimer.com/ Karen Lorenzo

    Dementia is a very challenging condition which affects a lot of Americans today. Each state should have their own comprehensive long-term care programs to attend to the needs of people with dementia. Just like a town in Wisconsin that initiated a drive towards increased care and support for their town’s dementia patients. According to WI long-term care information, http://www.infolongtermcare.org/state-long-term-care-information/wisconsin/, it is estimated that by 2020, there will be more than 110,000 dementia patients in the state. But the residents of Watertown showed their own little way of supporting the cause to help long-term care dementia patients. Even businesses have the option to sign an agreement for accommodating dementia patients . I hope every state will create a program like this, it will greatly help long-term care dementia patients live independently and maintain their quality of life regardless of their condition.

  • Jessie Parker

    I think even without the study, we can visibly observe the need for long term care improvement for dementia.
    But then still thanks to the RAND study, they came up a number of ways on how we can improve long term care for dementia and provided us a national blueprint that could bolster dementia care giving (source:www.rand.org/news/press/2014/06/23.html).
    Their suggestions is up, waiting for the cooperation of government, and those who are in long term care industries. Multiple sectors such as policymakers, ltc facilities (www.completelongtermcare.com/facilities) and researchers should take part in implementing the said recommendation as they play a major role in giving care of dementia residents.