Alzheimer’s in dire need of research

Posted 3/18/17

To The Editor:

At a cost of $236 billion a year, Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive disease in the nation. Nearly 1 in every 5 Medicare dollars is spent on people with Alzheimer’s or …

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Alzheimer’s in dire need of research

Posted

To The Editor:

At a cost of $236 billion a year, Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive disease in the nation. Nearly 1 in every 5 Medicare dollars is spent on people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. These costs will only continue to increase as Baby Boomers age, soaring to more than $1 trillion in 2050.

In Tennessee, more than 110,000 people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and most of the care they receive is unpaid care in the home, provided by family. Nearly 418,000 unpaid caregivers provide over 476 million hours of unpaid care, at an estimated value of over $6 billion.

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Today, more than 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, stop or slow Alzheimer’s disease by 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s may reach as high as 16 million.

Alzheimer’s is a growing crisis for our families and the economy. The federal government must address the challenges the disease poses and take bold action to confront this epidemic now.

As the Alzheimer’s Association volunteer ambassador to Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, I have the honor of traveling to Washington, D.C., to advocate on behalf of those who cannot do so on their own behalf.

On March 29, 2017, I will meet with Congressman Fleischmann and ask for his support of increased funding for Alzheimer’s research, and for support of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act — otherwise known as PCHETA, which would establish palliative care and hospice workforce training programs for doctors, nurses and other health professionals. It would create a national education and awareness campaign to inform patients, families and health professionals about the benefits of palliative care and available services and support.

Finally, it would enhance research on improving the delivery of palliative care.

Please consider contacting your senators and congressmen to ask for their support of these vital efforts as well.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease advocacy and local services, contact our local Alzheimer’s Association at 1-800-272-3900.

— Tresa Vaudreuil

Alzheimer’s Association

Volunteer Ambassador

to U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann

Cleveland

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