Nov 19, 2009
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) today introduced the Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act (H.R. 4123), a bill to improve treatment services for Alzheimer’s patients and expand training and support services for their families and caregivers. The bill is supported by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) and the Alzheimer’s Association, and it has more than fifty original cosponsors, including Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chairs of the Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Alzheimer’s disease places tremendous burdens on families,” said Congresswoman Waters. “The Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act will expand access to training and support services for caregivers and family members. As a result, it will improve the ability of caregivers to provide effective, compassionate care and allow more people with Alzheimer’s disease to remain in their homes with people who love them.”
Alzheimer’s disease currently affects an estimated 5 million Americans, and that number will multiply in the coming decades as our population ages. Most Alzheimer’s patients live at home under the care of family and friends. Caregivers include spouses, children, and even grandchildren of Alzheimer’s patients. Caregivers face a variety of challenges, from helping loved ones with bathing and dressing to managing their legal and financial affairs. Caregiving is extremely stressful; more than 40 percent of caregivers rate the emotional stress as high or very high, and about one-third of caregivers have symptoms of depression.
“This legislation recognizes that families and other caregivers taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s must have the dementia care training they need to manage needed care,” said Robert Egge, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy at the Alzheimer’s Association. “The bill also provides services tailored to the unique needs of each individual with dementia, and expands community based services, especially in underserved communities, to assist families in need.”
“The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is pleased to endorse the Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act,” said Eric J. Hall, President and Chief Executive Officer of AFA. “This legislation would provide much-needed grants to public and non-profit organizations to improve treatment for individuals with dementia, and expand training and support services for family caregivers. We thank Congresswoman Maxine Waters for her leadership in supporting local services for those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and improving quality of life in general for families affected by this disease.”