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Caregiving for Alzheimer’s Disease or other Dementia

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease that gets worse over time and currently has no cure. It is the most common type of dementia and accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, mixed dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Today it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. For more information, see

What is known about caregiving for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other Dementia?

  • An estimated 25-29% of caregivers of persons age 50 or older provide assistance to someone with a cognitive impairment, a memory problem, or a disorder like Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia (NAC, 2004).
  • For Alzheimer’s disease alone, in 2008 there were an estimated 9.9 million caregivers providing 8.5 billion hours of care at a value of $94 Billion dollars (Alzheimer’s Association, 2009).
  • The average age of a caregiver to a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other is 48 years old. (Alzheimer’s Association, 2009).
  • 18% of children 8 to 18 years old provide unpaid care for someone (Alzheimer’s Association, 2009).
  • The vast majority (87%) of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are cared for at home by family members (Alzheimer’s Association, 2009).
  • Caregivers provide assistance to a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia who is their parent or parent-in-law (57%), grandparent (11%), or spouse (6%; Alzheimer’s Association, 2009).
  • 10% of family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or an other dementia are doing so long distance.


Alzheimer’s Association, 2008: Alzheimer’s Association, 2009 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, [PDF-1.5Mb]

NAC, 2004: National Alliance for Caregiving/AARP, Caregiving in the U.S., 2004, [PDF-1.1Mb]