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Nebraska sees surge in Alzheimer's-related deaths in 2020 compared to past years

Dementia After Dark
Posted at 1:06 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 14:06:07-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Alzheimer’s Association released data Tuesday providing a deeper look into the impact of the disease on Nebraskans.

New statistics revealed the following, according to the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Number of Nebraska residents aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s: 35,000
  • Estimated number of Nebraska residents living with Alzheimer’s in 2025: 40,000
  • Percentage change: 14.3%
  • Statewide deaths from Alzheimer’s disease (2019): 768
  • Number of Iowa and Nebraska residents serving as unpaid family caregivers: 61,000
  • Total hours of unpaid care provided: 51 million
  • Total value of unpaid care: $894 million

The report shows Alzheimer’s and other dementias continue to significantly burden many Nebraska families. The COVID-19 pandemic was also examined in the report, adding that there were at least 42,000 more deaths from Alzheimer’s and related diseases total in 2020 compared with averages over the previous five years, marking a 16% increase.

Nebraska saw 319 more deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia last year compared to the averages of the last five years—a 17.9% increase.

“While more study is needed to understand the exact reasons why deaths attributable to Alzheimer’s and dementia during the pandemic have increased so dramatically, we do know individuals living with Alzheimer’s, particularly those living in long-term care settings are extremely vulnerable,” said Angel Horton Frank, Director of Communications for the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter. “In addition, many caregivers have been unable to visit loved ones in these settings, resulting in social isolation for the care recipient and causing enormous stress for these families.”

Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association looked into ethnic and racial backgrounds of those with the disease in the report, revealing that non-White populations expect and experience more barriers when attempting to get dementia care, trust in medical research less and are less confident they have access to healthcare professionals who understand their backgrounds.

See related findings from the Alzheimer’s Association below:

  • Two-thirds of Black Americans (66%) believe it is harder for them to get excellent care for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Likewise, 2 in 5 Native Americans (40%) and Hispanic Americans (39%) believe their own race or ethnicity makes it harder to get care, as do one-third of Asian Americans (34%).
  • Nearly two-thirds of Black Americans (62%) believe that medical research is biased against people of color — a view shared by substantial numbers of Asian Americans (45%), Native Americans (40%) and Hispanic Americans (36%) as well.
  • Only half of Black Americans (53%) trust a future cure for Alzheimer’s will be shared equally regardless of race, color or ethnicity.
  • Fewer than half of Black (48%) and Native Americans (47%) feel confident they have access to providers who understand their ethnic or racial background and experiences, and only about 3 in 5 Asian Americans (63%) and Hispanics (59%) likewise feel confident.

See more statistics from the Alzheimer's Association's report regarding prevalence, caregiving and cost of care below. See the full report here.

  • An estimated 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021.
  • More than 1 in 9 people (11.3%) age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Two-thirds of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s dementia (3.8 million) are women.
  • Deaths due to Alzheimer’s between 2000 and 2019, has more than doubled, increasing 145%.
  • 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.


  • In 2020, more than 11 million caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias provided an estimated 15.3 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at $257 billion.
  • Nearly half of all caregivers (48%) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
  • Approximately two-thirds of caregivers are women, and one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.
  • Forty-one percent of caregivers have a household income of $50,000 or less.

Cost of Care

  • In 2021, total payments for all individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are estimated at $355 billion (not including unpaid caregiving).
  • Medicare and Medicaid are expected to cover $239 billion or 67% of the total health care and long-term care payments for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Out-of-pocket spending is expected to be $76 billion.
  • Total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.
  • The total lifetime cost of care for someone with dementia is estimated at $373,527.

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