ASK PETER: All You Would Like to Know About Senior Care, Dementia, and Alzheimer's Care

Ask your senator and representative to reinforce Alzheimer's Care

By Peter DiMaria

Alzheimer's Care and Dementia Care

It’s National Public Health Week, and the Alzheimer's Association is using this opportunity to organize a petition to representatives and senators to enact legislation preparing the US for the upcoming Alzheimer’s crisis. As the baby boomer generation ages, there are serious doubts about the capacity of our health system to deal with it. By 2050, 16 million Americans could be living with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is an urgent public health crisis impacting our nation’s health care infrastructure. According to the Alzheimer's Association, Investing in a nationwide public health response to this crisis will improve quality of life for those living with the disease and their caregivers, and reduce associated costs for individuals and the government. 

The bipartisan Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act was introduced in November 2017 by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and by Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

The legislation, which prioritizes our nation’s approach to Alzheimer’s disease, was developed in close partnership between the sponsors, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM).

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act would establish Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence in communities around the country to expand and promote the evidence base for effective Alzheimer’s interventions. It would also issue funding to state and local public health departments to promote cognitive health, risk reduction, early detection and diagnosis, and the needs of caregivers. Critically, the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act would also increase collection, analysis and timely reporting of data on cognitive decline and caregiving to inform future public health actions.

Alzheimer’s is the most under-recognized threat to public health in the 21st century,” says the former U.S. Surgeon General and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, David Satcher.

Alzheimer's Association Campaign for the Alzheimer's ACT

According to the Alzheimer's Association, the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act would direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to:

Establish Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence:

  • The Centers will increase education of public health officials, healthcare professionals, and the public on Alzheimer’s, brain health, and health disparities.
  • The Centers will also provide technical assistance to public health departments across the country in implementing effective Alzheimer’s interventions.
  • These interventions will focus on priorities such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, preventing avoidable hospitalizations, reducing health disparities, supporting the needs of caregivers and supporting care planning for people living with the disease.
  • Finally, the Centers will expand innovative public-private partnerships that focus on addressing the cognitive impairment and health disparities.

Award cooperative agreements to public health departments:

  • This funding will help public health departments implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions, including those identified by the Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence.
  • This funding will also help public health departments implement strategic actions identified in the Healthy Brain Initiative’s Public Health Road Map.

Increase data collection, analysis, and timely reporting:

  • Cooperative agreements with public or nonprofit private entities will increase the analysis and timely public reporting of data on Alzheimer’s, caregiving, and health disparities.
  • This data will be collected using tools like the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).
  • This funding will also help monitor the progress of the Alzheimer’s and caregiving objectives in the Healthy People 2020 report

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