Tip of the Iceberg: Assessing the Global Socioeconomic Costs of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias and Strategic Implications for Stakeholders
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While it is generally understood that Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias (ADRD) is one of the costliest diseases to society, there is widespread concern that researchers and policymakers are not comprehensively capturing and describing the full scope and magnitude of the socioeconomic burden of ADRD. This review aimed to 1) catalogue the different types of AD-related socioeconomic costs described in the literature; 2) assess the challenges and gaps of existing approaches to measuring these costs; and 3) analyze and discuss the implications for stakeholders including policymakers, healthcare systems, associations, advocacy groups, clinicians, and researchers looking to improve the ability to generate reliable data that can guide evidence-based decision making. A centrally emergent theme from this review is that it is challenging to gauge the true value of policies, programs, or interventions in the ADRD arena given the long-term, progressive nature of the disease, its insidious socioeconomic impact beyond the patient and the formal healthcare system, and the complexities and current deficiencies (in measures and real-world data) in accurately calculating the full costs to society. There is therefore an urgent need for all stakeholders to establish a common understanding of the challenges in evaluating the full cost of ADRD and define approaches that allow us to measure these costs more accurately, with a view to prioritizing evidence-based solutions to mitigate this looming public health crisis.
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