Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Urges Greater Support for Alzheimer’s Disease in Light of New Projections on Rising Incidence

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AFA Calls for Urgent Need to Provide Quality Care and Support for Individuals and their Families Affected by Alzheimer's Disease

The following is a statement by Carol Steinberg, acting chief executive officer of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), in response to the release yesterday of a new study estimating that the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease will reach 13.8 million by 2050, a figure nearly triple the estimated 5.1 million people currently diagnosed with the disease. The government-funded study, published in Neurology, was conducted by researchers at Rush University in Chicago and based on an analysis of more than 10,000 people 65 and older enrolled in the Chicago Health and Aging Project since 1993.

“The study findings confirm the looming epidemic ahead given the nation’s aging baby boomers, and further underscore the urgent need to provide quality care and support for individuals and their families affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Resources like those provided by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America will increasingly be in high demand since it is impossible for families to face this alone. No amount of fear or denial should stop people from reaching out for assistance.

The latest findings also add further weight to the need for federal leaders to fund and move forward on recommendations in the “National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.” The historic plan was released in May 2012 and will be updated annually. The plan’s overarching goals call for preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, and expanding clinical care and long-term support services for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.

Recently, the Alzheimer’s Foundation put forth more than three dozen recommendations in a report entitled “Time to Build” that expand upon the plan’s current goals and take the initiative to the next level. Our bold but vital recommendations seek to alleviate the emotional and financial burdens put on families, and include programs that would allow family members to be hired as paid caregivers, income tax deductions for out-of-pocket costs for long-term care services; and greater access to government-funded home- and community-based care services such as adult day programs. We also urge the government to strengthen efforts to build a high-quality dementia care workforce by requiring more training and offering federal student loan forgiveness for professionals in geriatrics and gerontology.

We are at a pivotal moment, one which can make or break the increasing number of lives impacted by the unforgiving reality of this disease. Pressure will continue to mount and costs will skyrocket if we do not ensure adequate resources to effectively blunt the disease’s impact on families, communities and the government. Our nation must be prepared on all fronts to address this healthcare crisis.”

Alzheimer’s disease results in loss of memory and other intellectual functions, and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Advanced age is its greatest known factor. There is no known cure.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free hot line, e-mail, Skype and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484 or visit


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Joana Casas
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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