Aug 22, 2023 - Health

More than 121,000 Hoosiers over 65 have Alzheimer's

Data: Dhana, et al., 2023, "Prevalence of Alzheimer's disease dementia in the 50 U.S. states and 3,142 counties"; Map: Axios Visuals

An estimated 11% of adults aged 65 or older in Indiana — about 121,300 people — have Alzheimer's disease, per a new study.

Why it matters: It's critical for public health officials, policymakers and others to have a clear look at the number of Alzheimer's cases in a given area, the authors say — in part because caring for those with the disease cost an estimated $321 billion nationwide last year, much of which came via Medicare and Medicaid.

Details: The study, published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, estimated the rates of Alzheimer's disease among adults ages 65 or older in a given area based on demographic risk factors, including age, sex and race/ethnicity.

  • Researchers used data from the Chicago Health and Aging Project (a population-based study examining Alzheimer's risk factors), plus population estimates from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

Zoom in: Marion County had the second highest rate in the state, at 12.3%. Lake County tops the state at 12.9%.

The intrigue: The IU School of Medicine hosts the Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, one of a few dozen centers in the country solely committed to Alzheimer's research.

  • The center reports it has received more than 450 brain donations since its founding in 1991.

By the numbers: According to the Alzheimer's Association, 216,000 family caregivers in Indiana bear the burden of 321 million hours of unpaid care for those with the disease.

  • That care is valued at $5.1 billion — and costs an estimated $1 billion for the state Medicaid program.

The big picture: The eastern and southeastern U.S. have the country's highest rates of Alzheimer's disease, according to the study.

  • Maryland (12.9%), New York (12.7%) and Mississippi (12.5%) topped the list of U.S. states ranked by estimated number of Alzheimer's cases.

Yes, but: The researchers caution that their approach is incomplete, as demographic-based risk factors can only tell part of the picture.

  • Other risk factors — including cardiovascular health and lifestyle — also play a role, but "such data are unavailable at the county level, and we cannot incorporate them into our estimates," they write.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Indianapolis.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Indianapolis stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Indianapolis.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more