The Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report reveals that, for the second consecutive year, the total national cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will exceed a quarter of a trillion dollars, amounting to $277 billion in 2018.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray was recently congratulated, deservedly so, for sponsoring a funding increase for Alzheimer’s research. Since it was signed into law with the fiscal year 2018 budget signing, this is fabulous news. But it doesn’t help the more than 5 million Americans living with the disease nor the 16 million Americans caring for those women and men, many of them probably residing in the Kent area.
In Washington state, there are more than 110,000 people living with Alzheimer’s dementia. One of those people was my mother, who died in 2013. She was cared for at Chateau, a good facility right on the Kent/Renton line. Since her mother, too, also developed full-blown symptoms of Alzheimer’s before she died, I worry every day about my own susceptibility. I am concerned about my future care.
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the country. Medicare and Medicaid cover the lion’s share – $186 billion, or 67 percent, of the total health care and long-term care payments for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Protecting these programs is vital. Finding a treatment that delays the onset of Alzheimer’s will prevent the cost of the disease from engulfing Medicare and Medicaid.
National Institutes of Health scientists in their Professional Judgment Budget recommended that Congress increase funding of Alzheimer’s and dementia research by more than $425 million in fiscal year 2019. That’s on top of the historic increase in research funding that Murray was able to secure this year.
It’s time to be informed about Alzheimer’s dementia. We should all consult our local chapter and get some facts that will help us and our families in dealing with this major epidemic.
– Nancy Rinne