As the Alzheimer’s Association-Central Illinois Chapter’s volunteer ambassador for the 17th Congressional District, I would like to share some very important information concerning Alzheimer’s disease and how it affects everyone.
Today, Alzheimer’s is the largest escalating health epidemic, devastating families and profoundly impacting the government budgets. In 2013, Alzheimer’s care was estimated to be $203 billion, and over the next 40 years the cumulative cost will reach $20 trillion, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Sixty percent of that cost will be borne by Medicare.
Currently, more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease, and by 2050, there could be as many as 16 million. It is not a disease affecting only the elderly. More than 200,000 patients are younger than 65; 1 in 9 are older than 65, and 1 in 3 are older than 85.
The direct cost of this care by unpaid family and friends is valued at $216.4 billion, with out-of-pocket costs at $9.1 billion. If something is not done soon, costs to Medicare and Medicaid will increase by 500 percent by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Facts and Figures report.
What can you do to help introduce change? (1) Contact your congressperson for support of the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 709/H.R. 1507), which requires Medicare coverage for clinical diagnosis, care planning for new patients and their caregivers and requires documentation of evaluation and care planning to be listed on medical records. (2) Ask for support of the National Alzheimer’s Appropriation Plan to approve $100 million for research in the 2014 fiscal budget. (3) Contact the Alzheimer’s Association-Central Illinois Chapter (800-272-3900) to make a donation of your time or money and participate in the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
We are all in this together. Please make your voices heard and help eradicate this disease by 2025.
Marquette Heights, Ill.
From the Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2013, issue