Currently, there are more than 5.4 million Americans living with the disease, and it is estimated by 2050, someone in the United States will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds, with a total number of individuals living with the disease as high as 16 million.
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America. Forbes magazine in a March 2017 article stated “Alzheimer’s staggering $259 billion cost could break Medicare.”
Advocacy at the local, state, and federal level is necessary to ensure funds are allocated to help advance the research needed to find an effective treatment, and ultimately a cure for Alzheimer’s.
In 2016, for every $100 spent on funding Alzheimer’s research, $16,000 was spent by Medicare and Medicaid caring for those with the disease.
Alzheimer’s Association volunteer advocates from Brooklyn and Queens have taken part in awareness-raising meetings with elected officials to discuss the urgent need to take action.
Brooklyn resident George Valentin met with Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, a committed supporter in the fight to end Alzheimer’s at the beginning of Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.
Valentin and his wife, Walea, were his mother’s caregivers for years, until she passed away from Alzheimer’s. The experience inspired Valentin to take action to help others in similar circumstances.
He became an advocate at the 2017 Alzheimer's Advocacy Forum on Capitol Hill this past March.
“When my mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease was confirmed, and as the disease progressed, it finally became necessary for her to be in a nursing home with round-the-clock-care,” he said. “There, I saw firsthand the need to advocate for more staff training for those caring for Alzheimer’s patients.”
Promoting The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) and a $414 million increase for federal Alzheimer's research funding for FY2018 are the focus of advocates when meeting with their elected officials.
“When I found the Alzheimer's Association, I took advantage of the information on their website and called the 24/7 Helpline whenever I needed advice or felt overwhelmed,” Valentin said. “I started volunteering with the Association, telling my story, so others would become aware of the resources available to them. “
For more information or to get involved, visit alz.org/nyc or call (800) 272-3900.