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Number of Californians Living with Alzheimer’s Projected to Double by 2040

Number of Californians Living with Alzheimer’s Projected to Double by 2040
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October 12, 2021
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Number of Californians Living with Alzheimer’s Projected to Double by 2040
  • Hispanic and Black Californians will be disproportionately impacted and see greater increases
  • Deaths attributable to Alzheimer’s nearly quadruple
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SACRAMENTO, October 12, 2021 – The number of Californians 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease is projected to more than double by the year 2040, according to new data released by the California Department of Public Health in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association.

The newly-released update to the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Facts and Figures in California: Current Status and Future Projections report showed the number of people living with Alzheimer’s will more than double from 660,000 estimated in 2019 to nearly 1.5 million in 2040. One in six Californians over the age of 65 will develop Alzheimer’s, and one in five will develop dementia.

Of note, while California’s population is projected to grow by 16% by 2040, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s will grow by 127%.

“As the most racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse state in the nation, California can lead on equitable care, support and treatments for all affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, including family caregivers,” said Edie Yau, director of diversity, equity & inclusion engagement for the Alzheimer’s Association.

The report showed Hispanic and Black communities will shoulder a disproportionate share of the increase in prevalence. The number of Hispanic Californians living with Alzheimer’s will more than triple, while the number of Black Californians living with Alzheimer’s will nearly triple by 2040.

The number of Californians living with Alzheimer’s who identify as Asian and Pacific Islander will more than double, growing to 241,106 people.
Californians who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual living with Alzheimer’s will more than double, growing to 74,522 people.

Of California’s largest counties with a population of 700,000 or more, Contra Costa and Alameda counties are both expected to see the largest increases at 147%, followed by Riverside County with a 142% increase, and San Joaquin and San Bernardino counties at 141%.

Death Rates
Meanwhile, deaths attributable to Alzheimer’s showed the largest increase of any of the leading causes of death, almost quadrupling between 2000 and 2018. Between 2014 and 2018, deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s increased over 20% from 12,644 to 16,627, moving Alzheimer’s up to the third leading cause of death in California in 2018. As Californians are living longer, deaths due to Alzheimer’s may continue to increase.

The Asian American and Pacific Islander population saw the greatest increase in the number of Alzheimer’s deaths between 2000 and 2018, increasing 746%, followed by Hispanics with a 600% increase and Blacks showing a 321% increase. White Californians saw an increase of 214%.

Alzheimer’s death rates for California residents over the past eighteen years have increased from 13 deaths per 100,000 in 2000 to 42 deaths in 2018, an increase of 223%.

Between 2015 and 2017, Kern County had the highest Alzheimer’s death rate (53.4 per 100,000), followed by San Joaquin County (51.6 per 100,000) and San Bernardino County (43.3 per 100,000). Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties had the highest number of deaths overall.

Caregiving and Costs
The report also detailed the costs associated with Alzheimer’s in relation to caregiving and lost productivity at work.
More than 1.6 million Californians provided unpaid care for a person living with Alzheimer’s in 2020, amounting to 1,849 million hours of care valued at over $24 billion.

Most unpaid caregivers, 60% of whom are female, provide 20 or more hours of care per week to a friend or family member living with Alzheimer’s. Roughly 67% of California family caregivers pay out of pocket to care for a loved one with costs averaging well over $10,000 per year. Black and Hispanic caregivers are also shown to spend a higher proportion of their income on out-of-pocket costs compared with their White, non-Hispanic and Asian American/Pacific Islander counterparts.

Total unpaid care costs were estimated at $47 billion in 2008 and are projected to exceed $103.8 billion by 2040.
The estimated cost to California employers in lost productivity annually from full time and part-time employed caregivers is $8.3 billion. The majority of these costs, estimated in excess of $5.3 billion annually, are attributable to attempting to replace caregivers who leave the workforce.

The report also found that caregivers and recipients of care who identify as LGBTQ have unique experiences to consider. The findings show they are significantly less likely to access medical and social services than their peers who do not identify as LGBTQ, and also become caregivers at a slightly higher rate – one in five people who identify as LGBTQ provide care for another adult, compared to one in six people who do not identify as LGBTQ.
In 2018, the Alzheimer’s Association successfully advocated for legislation calling for the update of data last reported in 2009. This report was created as a result of those efforts to produce more timely information.
Jared Giarrusso, California government affairs director for the Alzheimer’s Association, pointed to Governor Newsom and the state legislature as key partners.

“We know this data will be put to immediate use by policy makers to accelerate Alzheimer’s, caregiving and equity initiatives already well underway as a result of the recent Master Plan for Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force recommendations,” said Giarrusso.

To view the complete report with more detailed information on prevalence, death rates, caregiving and cost, click here.

Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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