Working to cure Alzheimer’s

Published 11:25 am Friday, June 17, 2016

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. More than just memory loss or senility, Alzheimer’s disease is fatal. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and 15 million are serving as their caregivers.

In addition to the human toll, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive condition in the nation, costing $236 billion a year. Nearly one in every five Medicare dollars is spent on people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. These costs will continue to increase as Baby Boomers age, soaring to more than $1 trillion in 2050.

This past April, over 1,200 Alzheimer’s advocates from across the country met with legislators in Washington D.C. as part of the Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum, and appealed to Congress to take action: by increasing funding for Alzheimer’s disease by at least $400 million, by supporting the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act to provide Medicare coverage for comprehensive care planning services following a dementia diagnosis, and to educate providers on palliative and hospice care through the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA.)

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I want to thank U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson and his staff for meeting with the delegation from the Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio Area Chapter to discuss the Alzheimer’s crisis.

On June 9 in an extraordinary showing of bipartisan support, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $400 million increase in Alzheimer’s disease research funding at the National Institute of Health, and included the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act in its funding bill.

It is with the continued support of our legislators that we hope to continue to build on these steps we have taken towards a world without Alzheimer’s.


Mickey Meelich