What Will You Do to Honor the Family Caregiver in Your Life?
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease takes a toll – emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially.
Alzheimer’s disease affects men and women equally and knows no social or economic boundaries. Today, an estimated 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including an estimated 200,000 under the age of 65.
It is estimated that there are 15.7 million caregivers caring for someone with Alzheimer’s across the Nation. Alzheimer’s disease costs American society approximately $226 billion annually - taking into account everything from lost employee productivity to increased healthcare costs. Due to the physical and emotional toll of caregiving, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.7 billion in additional healthcare costs of their own in 2014. Moreover, unlike most diseases, the financial and emotional impact of Alzheimer’s on the caregiver is nearly equal to that of the affected person, thus increasing its overall societal threat.
To honor the many caregivers who may or may not receive thanks for their hard work, dedication, and love, November is National Family Caregivers Month.
During National Family Caregivers Month, contact your state legislator and share what caregiving means to you. Tell them how important the Alzheimer’s Association is to you. Share with your legislator how much you appreciate their support for the recent increased funding in the state budget.
2015 Public Policy Priorities
- Preserve and enhance state programs that provide critical support to individuals with Alzheimer’s and their family caregivers. There are currently waiting lists for many aging programs and the demand will be growing for such vital services such as respite, caregiver support, adult day, guardianship, elder protection, homecare, long-term care ombudsmen, nutrition assistance and health insurance counseling.
- Collaborate with appropriate state agencies and stakeholders in the continued development, implementation and expansion of the Dementia Capable Ohio Plan. This plan will ensure that all of Ohio is aware, educated and meeting the needs of people living with dementia and will provide support for those who care for them.
- Ensure that current Alzheimer’s Respite programs and services are adequately funded to accommodate the growing need of such programs and services provided by the Alzheimer’s Association in Ohio through the Alzheimer’s Respite Line Item (490-414).
- Collaborate with state agencies to implement standards for proper care delivery and training of all staff in residential, home and community based settings to ensure delivery of quality person-centered dementia care. Focus areas for quality care should include activities; safety and physical environment; nutrition; pain management; and end-of-life care.
- Engage Ohio partners in the support of ongoing surveillance and data collection on cognitive impairment and caregiving through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Collaborate with state agencies to ensure data results translate to better disease awareness and care for Ohioans impacted by dementia.
- Advocate for the protection of Medicaid services or eligibility ensuring families and individuals with Alzheimer’s that needed services are available in the most appropriate setting. Medicaid provides health services, nursing home care and various home and community based services for individuals who meet program requirements. The growing number of Ohioans at all stages of Alzheimer’s and related dementias pose a looming public health crisis that requires planning and coordination by state government.
- Continue to advocate/support federal public policy priorities as identified by the Association’s public policy office.
Alzheimer’s disease is a growing crisis for our families and the economy. The federal government must address the challenges the disease poses and take bold action to confront this epidemic now. Here’s more information on the Alzheimer’s Association’s federal priorities including implementing the National Alzheimer’s Plan and increasing access to diagnosis and care planning.
Memory Day 2015 a Huge
from across Ohio made their voices heard during the 17th annual Ohio Memory Day
at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Wednesday, April 15th. A record number of
advocates (over 400) participated in the event, sponsored by the Ohio Council
of the Alzheimer's Association.
Advocates attended the
luncheon program where they heard remarks from Ohio Governor John Kasich, Ohio
Department on Aging Director Dr. Bonnie Kantor-Burman, the Honorable Speaker
Cliff Rosenberger, and advocate and caregiver Luanne Bole-Becker. Volunteer
advocate Ginni Ragan received the 2015 Sharen Eckert Leadership in Advocacy
Memory Day provides
Alzheimer’s advocates from across the state the opportunity to meet with their
legislators as well as fellow advocates in support of the Alzheimer’s
Association advocacy mission. Ohioans called upon their Representatives and
Senators to increase the Alzheimer’s respite funding line-item (490-414), to
support future proposals for proper training in dementia care, and to support
Save the date for Memory Day 2016 - Wednesday, April 20th.
Attendance for the 27th Annual Advocacy Forum
Association 27th Annual Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. attracted a record 1,000-plus attendees representing all
50 states. The three-day event, held March 23-25, included various panel
discussions and presentations on public policy issues, a gala dinner and office
visits with members of Congress on Capitol Hill.
Ohio’s delegation of
over 50 advocates consisted of seasoned Ambassadors as well as advocates who
were attending the Forum for the first time. The Ohio Council hosted an
inaugural Ohio Advocate Gathering, which included a special research update from Dr. Gary Landreth
(Director of the Alzheimer’s Research Laboratory at Case Western Reserve
University in Cleveland).
program, advocates heard from members of Congress as well as Dr. Richard Hodes
(Director of the National Institutes on Aging) and keynote speaker Dr. David
Satcher (Former U.S. Surgeon General). Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice, received the Association’s
Sargent and Eunice Shriver Profiles in Dignity Award during the National Alzheimer’s
Dinner. Wolf Blitzer (CNN’s lead political anchor) served as the dinner’s
In addition to requesting a $300 million
increase for Alzheimer’s research at NIH, the Association re-introduced the
bipartisan Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act.
The HOPE Act (S. 857/H.R. 1559) would ensure that Medicare
beneficiaries newly-diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their families
receive comprehensive care planning services.
For more on the Forum, visit www.alz.org/forum.