Objective: The aim of this paper is to study the opportunity costs (OC) that are involved in being a caregiver and to compare them with the direct costs assumed by the State and the families. We evaluate direct cost (those that imply a payment-out-of-pocket) and indirect cost (those that imply a dedication in time). We hypothesized that costs increase with the severity of the dementia, with the educational level and active occupational situation of caregiver. They are greater if the caregiver is male, but if the patient and caregiver cohabit they are reduced.; Method: 778 surveys were analyzed. Data was collected using a questionnaire specifically designed for the purpose, with the collaboration of Alzheimer's Diseases Associations in Andalusia (Spain). For the indirect cost, we used the reveal preferences method. For the comparison between groups an ANOVA and a MANOVA was done.; Results: The hypotheses were confirmed. The OC exponentially increases with severity. More than 55% of costs are assumed by families. Occupied people have higher educational level and incomes and contract more external support. Costs are significantly higher for male caregivers. Cohabiting reduces all kinds of costs.; Conclusions: The relationship between educational level and employment situation lead to think that if these variables are greater more people will seek professional support. Cultural reasons still maintain women as main caregivers for all educational levels. The existence of these informal caregivers as the main care providers is a saving for the State, and a brake for the development of professional supply.