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Alzheimer's News 11/8/11
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Report captures insights on challenges a national Alzheimer’s plan must address

A new report, Alzheimer’s from the Frontlines: Challenges a National Alzheimer’s Plan Must Address, offers the insights, perspectives and views from individuals across the country who participated in the Alzheimer’s Association’s® public input process. Building on the Association’s commitment to provide a platform for those directly affected by Alzheimer’s, the Association and its more than 70 chapters nationwide hosted 132 input sessions throughout the country.

Alzheimer’s from the Frontlines provides a rare and unique window into the real, unrelenting challenges the disease forces on families year after year. Currently the sixth-leading cause of death, Alzheimer’s is the only cause among the top 10 in the United States without a means to prevent, cure or even slow its progress.

Today, an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2050 as many as 16 million Americans will have the disease. Beyond the sheer numbers of lives touched by the disease, Alzheimer’s will also be a financial albatross to the nation’s health care system, surpassing $1 trillion in costs annually by mid-century unless the trajectory of the disease is changed.

Advocates from across the nation were essential to the enactment of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which creates a framework for a national plan and coordinates efforts across the federal government. Galvanized by the historic opportunity of creating a national Alzheimer’s plan, more than 43,000 people from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico engaged in the public input process, including people living with the disease, caregivers, families, researchers, health care professionals, community leaders and many others. 

“Individuals, families and communities are at the center of the escalating Alzheimer’s crisis. Thousands of these individuals shared their experiences from the frontlines,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Americans who participated in this process want the nation’s leaders to know Alzheimer’s forever changes lives. In the end, these individuals want and deserve a transformational plan that urgently addresses their needs.”

Ten key challenges emerged repeatedly throughout the public input process, among them increasing awareness of the impact of Alzheimer’s; fostering an environment that offers more effective treatments faster; providing better care throughout the disease process; ensuring better support today for caregivers; and reducing the disparities that exist among diverse and underserved communities.

“It’s clear that those who participated in these input sessions do not want this opportunity to be a symbolic overture but instead the beginning of real, transformational action,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association vice president of public policy. “We hope those developing the National Alzheimer’s Plan will be inspired and guided by the challenges, experiences and needs echoed throughout the report.”

The full text of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Alzheimer’s from the Frontlines: Challenges a National Alzheimer’s Plan Must Address report can be viewed at www.alz.org/napa.

Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.

Contact: Alzheimer's Association
Media line: 312.335.4078
E-mail: media@alz.org


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.