Memory care costs the healthcare industry billions of dollars each year, and costs will only rise as the population of older adults grows. But it will take large-scale changes to our healthcare system and reimbursement modes to manage those patients and lower costs. In lieu of those changes, we offer three opportunities in the memory care patient journey that increase collaboration amongst stakeholder to improve outcomes and sustainably care for these patients.
Memory care is the specialized care for people with Alzheimer's or dementia that promotes safety, structure, and routine to lower stress. It can take place in a clinical, residential, or community environment.
Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia, making up 60-80% of cases. Additional dementia forms include vascular, Lewy body, and frontotemporal (including Huntington’s disease).
There are four core services of memory care from the patient perspective:
3. Treatment/Care management
4. Caregiver support
An aging population and rising disease prevalence are driving the growth for memory care services. There continues to be an uptick in age-associated cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as the majority of the Baby Boomer generation ages. In 2020, 6.1M Americans had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. In 2030 that number is estimated to reach 8.5M and in 2040 jump to 11.2M. These numbers are likely an underestimation of the patient population, because dementias are notoriously difficult to diagnose — current estimates indicate that only a quarter of the estimated total patient population for Alzheimer’s disease has a diagnosis.
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