As Alzheimer’s burden grows, ability to care for seniors in Iowa and Illinois faces critical challenges

Elmore on Paula Sands

By Debbie McFadden
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 9:22 AM CDT

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -The Alzheimer’s Association 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report finds the burden on Iowa and Illinois Alzheimer’s and dementia family and professional caregivers is growing.
The new report released shows there were an estimated 98,000 dementia family caregivers in Iowa providing 125 million hours of unpaid care valued at $2.284 billion. In Illinois, there were 312,000 caregivers who provided 481 million hours of unpaid care valued at $9.8 billion.

Megan Pedersen, Senior Program Manager at Alzheimer’s Association, and Haley Flenker, Senior Star, discuss the latest data and the escalating burden on caretakers.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s annual BrainWorks Conference happening at Birchwood Fields Learning Center in Davenport on April 19 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. is also mentioned. This year’s conference is focused on providing family caregivers with information and resources to help them care for themselves and their loved one living with Alzheimer’s or dementia

It is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To learn more and register, visit or call 800-272-3900.

More on the Facts & Figures report
The new report reveals that Iowa family caregivers and those across the country face significant emotional, physical and health-related challenges as result of caregiving as well, including:
● Dementia caregivers report higher rates of chronic conditions compared to caregivers of people without dementia or non-caregivers. In Iowa, 60% of caregivers reported at least one chronic condition, and in Illinois, 64% did.
● The prevalence of depression is higher among dementia caregivers when compared to caregivers for other conditions. In Iowa and Illinois, nearly 30% caregivers reported depression.
● Across the country, 59% of dementia caregivers report high to very high emotional stress due to caregiving and 38% report high to very high physical stress due to caregiving.

This year’s report also finds a shortage looming for direct care workers in Iowa and across the country. Direct care workers, including nurse aides, nursing assistants and home health aides play a vital role in caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia.

According to the report, an estimated 1.2 million additional direct care workers will be needed between 2020 and 2030 — more new workers than in any other single occupation in the United States. By 2030, Iowa will need at least 32% more and Illinois will need at least 19% more direct care workers.

Although more direct care workers will be needed in the years ahead, the long-term care field is already struggling to fill existing direct care positions. Turnover rates are high in this workforce — estimated at 64% annually for direct care workers providing home care and 99% for nursing assistants in nursing homes, according to the report.

The annual Facts and Figures report provides an in-depth look at the latest national and state-by-state statistics on Alzheimer’s disease prevalence, mortality, caregiving, dementia care workforce and costs of care. According to the report, there are 6.7 million people 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s dementia in the United States, including 66,000 in Iowa.

Additional data from the report is included below and top statistics on Alzheimer’s disease prevalence, mortality, cost of care, caregiving and dementia care workforce is available here.
For more information on Memory Support or senior living visit Senior Star Elmore Place.

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