An estimated 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, including one in eight Americans over 65 and nearly half of Americans over 85. Sixty percent of Alzheimer's patients are likely to wander from their homes. Wanderers are vulnerable to dehydration, weather conditions, traffic hazards, and individuals who prey on those who are defenseless. Up to 50 percent of wandering Alzheimer's patients will become seriously injured or die if they are not found within 24 hours of their departure from home.
To assist vulnerable Alzheimer’s patients and their families, I introduced H.R. 908, which reauthorizes, updates and expands the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program, a Department of Justice program which helps local communities and law enforcement quickly identify persons with Alzheimer’s disease who wander away or are missing and reunite them with their families.
Since it was established more than 10 years ago, the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program has funded a national registry of more than 172,000 individuals at risk of wandering and has reunited over 12,000 wanderers with their families. The program has a 98% success rate in recovering enrollees who are reported missing, and 88% of registrants who wander are found within the first four hours of being reported missing.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 908 in February of 2009.
Also, I introduced the Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act (H.R. 4123), to improve treatment services for Alzheimer’s patients and expand training and support services for their families and caregivers, and H. Res. 910, National Memory Screening Day, to promote awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, to support the development of a national health policy on dementia screening and care, and to encourage Americans concerned about memory loss to be screened.
More on Alzheimer's
In the U.S., someone develops Alzheimer's every 67 seconds. The Alzheimer's Association estimates as many as 16 million Americans over age 65 could suffer from Alzheimer's by 2050. It is now the fifth leading cause of death in my home state of California.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) released the following statement marking Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, which is observed in June.
Today on Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), the Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, urged international efforts to address the global challenges of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, during a hearing in the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The subject of the hearing was "A Report on the G-8 Dementia Summit." The Congresswoman's remarks as prepared for delivery follow:
Today on Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), the Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, submitted a statement urging international action to address the global challenges of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias during a hearing in the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The subject of the hearing was "The Global Challenge of Alzheimer's: The G-8 Dementia Summit and Beyond."
The Congresswoman's statement follows:
U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.), House co-Chairs of the Bipartisan, Bicameral Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, today encouraged participation in the 11th annual National Memory Screening Day on Nov. 19.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, which works to increase awareness of Alzheimer's and strengthen the federal commitment to address the disease, issued the following statement in recognition of Alzheimer's Action Day, which falls on Saturday, September 21, 2013:
"As the Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, I am proud to join the millions of families who are affected by Alzheimer's to recognize tomorrow as Alzheimer's Action Day.
A newly proposed bill aims to give people with serious and terminal illnesses more say in their care plan and provide Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to healthcare professionals for holding discussions about a patient's goals, illness and treatment options.
The Care Planning Act of 2013 would encourage people to consult with a healthcare team, faith leaders, family members and friends to devise a care plan. It would also put structures in place to ensure providers focus on the patients' preferences.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) has been named the new Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's disease. She will lead the Caucus as the Democratic Co-Chair, alongside the Republican Co-Chair, Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04).
Congresswoman Maxine Waters believes her job is to fight for the care and support of seniors, especially on the issues of Alzheimer's disease, elder abuse, housing and quality healthcare, she said at the inaugural Advocates for African American Elders public event held in February, congratulating the similarly focused advocacy group on its outreach to the African-American community to ensure a decent quality of life for all seniors.