Deaths from Alzheimer's disease increasing in the region

Mar 19, 2013

More and more people across the country are dying from Alzheimer's disease -- and central New York is not immune to the trend.

The latest figures from the Alzheimer's Association report one in three seniors will die from Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.  That's up 70 percent from 2000 to 2010. And Cathy James, CEO of the Central New York Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association notes those statistics don't compare well with deaths from other diseases in that time frame.

"While deaths from other major diseases, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, stroke, while those have been declining -- and we've seen decline as a result of increased awareness attention to what those risk factors are as well as to research -- deaths to Alzheimer's disease continue to climb and continue to escalate," she said.

In the coming years, James expects death from Alzheimer's to climb 30 percent in central New York by 2035.  And she says it'll be more like 50 percent in certain counties -- Madison, Oswego and Tompkins in particular -- because of the graying of their populations.  

James says these numbers are forcing public policy makers to be more alert to the impact of Alzheimer's, with advocates pushing for more support for caregivers and more research into the disease. The disease also puts a great deal of stress on the Medicare and Medicaid systems which pay for much of the care at the end stage of the disease.