Alzheimer’s Association: New Alzheimer’s Association report finds doctors and the public face challenges in understanding and distinguishing early Alzheimer’s development from “normal aging”

MILWAUKEE, March 15, 2022 — The Alzheimer’s Association 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report unearthed challenges both doctors and the American public face in understanding and diagnosing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is characterized by subtle changes in memory and thinking. It is estimated 10% to 15% of individuals with MCI go on to develop dementia each year. And as the size of the U.S. population age 65 and older continues to grow (from 58 million in 2021 to 88 million by 2050), so too will the number and proportion of Americans with Alzheimer’s or other dementias given increased risk of dementia with advancing age.

The special report, “More than Normal Aging: Understanding Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI),” for the first time examined both public and primary care physicians’ (PCP) understanding of real-world awareness, diagnosis and treatment of MCI and MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.

 “The new Facts and Figures report shines a light on MCI, and is critical to creating awareness for strategies and resources for families on this journey,” said Jennifer McAlister, program manager, Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter. “There are so many things individuals living with MCI can do to impact the progression of the disease. We want to empower people and give them confidence to seek out resources, and focus on lifestyle habits that can help them continue living their best life.” 

Special Report at a glance:

  • It is estimated 12% to 18% of people age 60 or older have MCI. While some individuals with MCI revert to normal cognition or remain stable, studies suggest 10% to 15% of individuals with MCI go on to develop dementia each year. 
  • About one-third of people with MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease develop Alzheimer’s dementia within five years. 
  • Despite the prevalence among aging Americans, the new report found more than 4 in 5 Americans (82%) know very little or are not familiar with MCI. When prompted with a description of MCI, more than half (55%) say MCI sounds like “normal aging.” 
  • 75% of PCPs say they are on the front lines of providing care for patients with MCI. However, just two-thirds feel comfortable answering patient questions related to MCI (65%) and/or discussing how MCI may be related to Alzheimer’s disease (60%).
  • PCPs are committed to learning more about MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease and see clear benefits of making a specific diagnosis (90%). Yet, more than three-quarters of PCPs (77%) report MCI due to Alzheimer’s being difficult to diagnose, and half (51%) do not usually feel comfortable diagnosing it.
  • Awareness and understanding of MCI is low across all racial and ethnic groups surveyed: White Americans (18%), Asian Americans (18%), Native Americans (18%), Black Americans (18%) and Hispanic Americans (17%).

Workplace shortages 

This year’s report also includes a new section on the dementia care workforce. According to the report, most states, including Wisconsin, will have to nearly triple the number of geriatricians who were practicing in 2021 to effectively care for approximately 10% of those 65 and older who are projected to have Alzheimer’s dementia in 2050.


  • In Wisconsin, there are approximately 83 Geriatricians. 
  • By 2050, 273 Geriatricians are needed to serve 10% of those 65 and older in Wisconsin.
  • By 2050, 820 Geriatricians are needed to serve 30% of those 65 and older in Wisconsin.

In addition, the report looked at the number of direct care workers such as nurse aides and nursing assistants, home health aides and personal care aides needed between 2018 and 2028. To meet the demand, almost every state, including Wisconsin, needs to double the number of direct care workers. 

  • In 2018, there were approximately 71,820 home health and personal care aides in Wisconsin. 
  • By 2028, Wisconsin will need 86,440 home health and personal care aides, a 20.4% increase. 

2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures: At a Glance

The 2022 Facts and Figures report also provides an in-depth look at the latest national statistics on Alzheimer’s disease prevalence, incidence, mortality, costs of care and impact on caregivers. 

National Prevalence, Incidence and Mortality

  • An estimated 6.5 million Americans over age 65 are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2022.
  • About 1 in 9 people (10.7%) over age 65 has Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Two-thirds of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s dementia (4 million) are women.
  • 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. 


  • In 2021, more than 11 million caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias provided an estimated 16 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at more than $271 billion.
  • Nearly half of all caregivers (48%) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
  • 41% percent of caregivers have a household income of $50,000 or less. 

Wisconsin statistics:  

  • Number of Wisconsin residents aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s: 120,000
  • Estimated number of Wisconsin residents living with Alzheimer’s in 2025: 130,000
  • Number of Wisconsin residents serving as unpaid family caregivers: 198,000
  • Total hours of unpaid care provided: 206,000,000; Total value of unpaid care: $3,421,000,000

To support the thousands of individuals living with MCI in Wisconsin, the Alzheimer’s Association offers many resources, including these virtual care and support opportunities: 

  • Alzheimer’s Association Statewide Virtual MCI Support Group: Held the second Wednesday of each month from 10:00-11:30 a.m. Register at 800.272.3900
  • Special Program – March 25, 10 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Healthy Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment: “How to Practice Self-Care During a Pandemic.” Register at
  • Healthy Living with MCI speaker series: This education series offer attendees support, guidance and science-backed strategies for living and coping with a diagnosis of MCI. Learn more at
  • Living Well with Chronic Conditions Workshop: This seven-week workshop is designed for those living with MCI and their care partners. Begins April 13, from 1:00-3:30 p.m. on seven consecutive Wed. Register at 800.272.3900.

About the Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia®. Visit or call 800.272.3900.