Join the Fight for a World Without Alzheimer’s®
The Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter, is the largest group in Illinois advocating on behalf of those living with Alzheimer’s disease. We invite you to add your voice to more than 27,000 other Illinoisans in speaking up for the needs and rights of people and families facing Alzheimer’s disease in our state.
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Dedicated Advocates Make an Impact
The Alzheimer’s Association advocates are caregivers, parents, husbands, wives, professionals and students, who despite dealing with the emotional and physical obstacles inflicted by Alzheimer’s, still have time to make a difference in the lives of others. Their commitment and push for change play a critical role in improving the quality of care and life for people facing Alzheimer’s disease. It should be no surprise that when these dedicated advocates come together, they accomplish monumental successes on the federal and state level.
Advocates March to Capitol Hill
This year, more than 1,300 advocates from all 50 states came together in Washington D.C. for the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy forum. Sharing their personal experience with the disease and speaking up for increased research funding and improved access to care and support, advocates – including a record-breaking 62 from Illinois – met with their elected officials to urge them to make Alzheimer’s a national priority.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive disease in America, the cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s was $259 billion in 2017, with $175 billion paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Without a cure or preventive treatment, these costs will only continue to rise.
While there is still a lot to do it is imperative we draw our attention the progress being made.
Last year, our advocates helped secure the largest increase in federal Alzheimer’s disease research funding in history and our request for $400 million increase has been included in the FY17 funding bill. These funds will directly impact the research, policy, and care needed to find treatments, and ultimately, a cure. At this year’s Forum in March, after two days of interactive team building and training – advocates stormed Capitol Hill, urging elected officials to further invest in Alzheimer’s disease research and support the association’s main federal public policy priorities. $414 million additional dollars was requested for the FY18 federal budget, driving us closer to the $2 billion that NIH scientists say we need annually to defeat this disease.
Taking Action in Illinois
With these unremitting goals in mind, more than 150 Illinois advocates marched through Springfield, urging elected officials to make Illinois a dementia capable state.
Alzheimer’s disease continues to be the most expensive disease in America and with more than 220,000 residents suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and no state budget, it is easy to focus on the frustrating obstacles that are straining our services and support systems. However, there is real bipartisan progress happening and the association’s advocates play a key role in these successes.
State Rep. Chris Welch and Sen. Daniel Biss made the associations requests a state priority, they both became the first co-sponsors of the Discharge Reforms, Staffing Enforcement in Long-Term Care Settings bill (HB 3392 & SB 1624). When enacted this bill will protect the growing number of long-term care residents currently being abandoned in hospital psychiatric units and provide the necessary penalties to enforce legally-required staffing levels. As of May 3, less than two weeks after our advocates departed, another eight had signed on as cosponsors.
Every day, families across Illinois are faced with the daunting task of finding compassionate, qualified care for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Our advocates have once again fought for those who no longer can speak for themselves. None of these recent successes, would be possible without our amazing team of dedicated advocates, who share a common dream of eliminating the most expensive and heartbreaking disease in America.
Our advocates will continue that push for a world without Alzheimer’s.