Advocacy, Broadcast, Public Health

SPENT: The Hidden Cost of Dementia

A staggering 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with some form of dementia… and you likely know one or more of them… they’re your aunt, your brother, your mother, your husband. Dementia steals that person out from under you in a most devastating way. You’ve seen how it attacks a person’s memory, personality, language, and physical abilities. It can last for decades. And there is no cure.
On top of the emotional loss is an economic burden almost as painful as the disease. The out-of-pocket costs for a patient with dementia, including Alzheimer’s, its most common form, is well over $70,000 a year. Driving the cost aren’t drugs or treatments, but the years of care necessary to get a person safely through life’s everyday activities.
All toll, the cost of dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion annually, making the disease more costly to the nation than either heart disease or cancer. With an aging population, diagnosis will surely continue to climb, and the costs for dementia care will rise along with it.
Right now, according to The Alzheimer’s Association, dementia costs taxpayers 18.3 million dollars… every hour! What will that number look like in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years? Medicare, the primary health insurance for people 65 and older, doesn’t cover that long-term non-medical care. So, who will pay for this care, and how? And what if you just can’t afford to… what happens then?
SPENT: The Hidden Cost of Dementia, slated for a Public Television premiere, examines the economic impact of this growing public health crisis with a personal approach. Award winning, husband and wife filmmakers, Daphne Glover and Robert Ferrier were in the midst of this crisis. Five years ago Daphne’s aging mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia. Faced with all the emotional and financial costs of this disease, they felt compelled to tell their story.
And they know they’re not alone. 15 million people are caring for a loved one with dementia right now. This timely film introduces us to a cross-section of American families who are in the throes of dealing with this disease and grappling with how to manage its cost… in many cases turning lives upside down.
Through expert interviews, personal and intimate stories, and examining breakthroughs in treatment and alternative healthcare, SPENT reveals a world in the midst of a public health crisis, and sheds light on ways we can cope with this devastating illness and its financial impact on families and societies.