Alzheimer’s Association Fact Sheet

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. It is a devastating disorder of the brain’s nerve cells that impairs memory, thinking, and behavior and leads, ultimately, to death. The impact of Alzheimer’s on individuals, families and our health care system makes the disease one of our nation’s greatest medical, social and fiscal challenges.

An estimated 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2050, it is projected that 13.2 million Americans may have this disease.

In Tucson and Southern Arizona, is it estimated that over 20,000 people have Alzheimer’s disease.

One in 10 Americans reported that they had a family member with Alzheimer’s and one in three knew someone with the disease.

Increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s. One in 10 individuals over 65 and nearly half of those over 85 are affected.

A person with Alzheimer’s disease will live an average of eight years and as many as 20 years or more from the onset of symptoms.

More than seven out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease live at home, where almost 75 percent of their care is provided by family and friends.

The average lifetime cost of care for an individual with Alzheimer’s is $174,000.

The Alzheimer’s Association has provided essential services and support to people with Alzheimer’s Disease and their families since the 1980’s. Last fiscal year, our services impacted over 2,200 Tucson and Southern Arizona residents through our five core programs.

Helpline / Information and Referral: A total of 1,743 calls were received by the Helpline last year. Callers were assisted by svolunteers and staff to learn more about the disease and needed resources and support.

Support Groups: A total of 20 support groups were active last year, with a total of 325 meetings and 1,949 participant contacts. Support groups help caregivers by offering on-going support, information, and a network of friends, reducing their feelings of isolation.

Care Consultation: This program was initiated in Tucson last year, serving 46 families. Care Consultants are experienced professionals who work directly with families, assisting caregivers by assessing their needs and developing immediate and long-term plans for care. They provide expert guidance, helping families make informed decisions as they cope with the progression of the disease.

Safe Return: Last year in Southern Arizona, 42 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease were registered for Safe Return, a national program that reduces the risks for people with Alzheimer’s disease who may wander.

Education and Training: Knowledge empowers caregivers to acquire the skills and courage needed to provide care. Education about the disease is also targeted to professionals in the health care and related fields, to enhance their service to people with Alzheimer’s disease. Community awareness activities are also held, to inform the public about this devastating disease. Last year, a total of 26 education sessions were held in Southern Arizona, with a total of 855 participant contacts. The 2005 Tucson Caregivers Conference was attended by 250 participants.

How can I help the Alzheimer’s Association?

Volunteer your time. Our volunteers are critical to our work. Join the more than 581 individuals who volunteered more than 2,149.5 hours of service and fund raising assistance in throughout the Southern Arizona Region last year. Volunteers are needed to assist on the Helpline, with Support Groups, and with Education Programs. Community members are also needed to assist with Public Policy, to advocate on behalf of people affected by the disease. Volunteers provide leadership and support for community awareness and fund raising activities, including Memory Walk and Forget Me Not Sunday. The Southern Arizona Regional Leadership Council and its committees would welcome interested community volunteers.

Join Memory Walk. The Tucson Memory Walk is one of 600 across the nation to raise awareness about the disease and to raise money for local programs. Sign yourself and friends up for the Walk, or become a sponsor.

Contribute to our services for Tucson and Southern Arizona residents with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. Your donation can be designated toward one or more of our core programs. We would also welcome your contribution designated for research, which would be used for this purpose through our National Alzheimer’s Association.

We would welcome working with you on other ideas! Please call us at (520) 322-6601.



1Hebert, LE; Scherr, PA; Bienias, JL; Bennett, DA; Evans, DA. “Alzheimer Disease in the U.S. Population: Prevalence Estimates Using the 2000 Census.” Archives of Neurology August 2003; 60 (8): 1119 – 1122. Arizona Department of Health services report, “Estimated Prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease Among Arizonans Age 65 and Older”, February 8, 2000.

2 Arizona Department of Health services report, “Estimated Prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease Among Arizonans Age 65 and Older”, February 8, 2000.

31992 Gallup survey of 1,015 individuals, commissioned by the National Alzheimer’s Association. For more information, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association Benjamin B. Green-Field Library and Resource Center at 800.272.3900

4Evans, DA; Funkenstein, HH; Albert, MS; et al. “Prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease in a Community Population of Older Persons: Higher than Previously Reported.” JAMA 1989; 262(18): 2552 – 2556.

5 Losing a Million Minds: Confronting the Tragedy of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment; U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987; p. 14.

6 Ernst, RL; Hay, JW. “The U.S. Economic and Social Costs of Alzheimer’s Disease Revisited.” American Journal of Public Health 1994; 84(8): 1261 – 1264. This study cites figures based on 1991 data, which were updated in the journal’s press release to 1994 figures. Cited in 2001 – 2002 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report. National Institutes of Health publication number 03-5333, July 2003; p. 2.