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New report: 11% of Arizonans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's

Coverage of aging is supported in part by AARP Arizona

Family caregivers are still struggling to navigate health care for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, according to a new report by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Each year, the association looks at the latest data on Alzheimer’s. 

"We're up to 7 million Americans now with diagnosed dementia, which is up 200,000. And that number is expected to grow to 13 million by 2050. This number is probably underreported, because there is still some work to be done when it comes to getting our seniors diagnosed early," said Kristen Moore Bennett with the Alzheimer's Association in Phoenix. She says there’s a reason why some people are not getting diagnosed.

"As part of the annual wellness visit for Medicare beneficiaries, there should be a cognitive assessment done," but nationally, she said, only about 30% of providers do one.  

"And the cognitive assessment piece of it is not standardized, so someone may do it as, ‘hey, how’s your memory today?’"

Alzheimer's in Arizona

More than 151,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in Arizona.

"And that's about 11% of the 65-plus population. Again, under-reported, I'm sure. There's 292,000 individuals providing unpaid caregiving to those people," Moore Bennett said.

The report also found that nearly 67% of those caregivers struggle with at least one chronic health condition. And nearly 30% suffer from depression.

According to the 2024 Facts and Figures report, 70% of dementia caregivers say coordinating care is stressful. 

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Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.