YARMOUTH, Maine — The Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter, and the thousands of Maine Alzheimer’s advocates across the state applauded Congress and the Obama administration Wednesday for including an unprecedented $122 million for Alzheimer’s in the bill to fund government operations for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2014.
Maine Alzheimer’s advocates gathered with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s and ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, to thank her for her leadership in securing this funding and join her to renew the call for further investments with a goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. A longtime Alzheimer’s champion and member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Collins requested the critical funding for Alzheimer’s research, treatment, and caregiver programs.
The omnibus appropriations bill includes:
- $100 million increase for the National Institute on Aging for Alzheimer’s research;
- $30 million for the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Initiative;
- $3.3 million, an increase of $1.5 million, to support caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients;
- $4 million to train health professionals on issues related to Alzheimer’s disease;
- $10.5 million to expand the home and community based caregiver services;
- $4.2 million for outreach activities to raise awareness.
“This additional funding is great news and an initial step toward the goal of doubling the funding for Alzheimer’s research and eventually, over five years, achieving the level of $2 billion recommended by the Alzheimer’s Advisory Council,” Collins said. “We must continue our efforts in 2015 to do more for Alzheimer’s research and treatment given the tremendous human and economic price of this devastating disease.”
There are currently more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and that number is poised to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050, according the Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures report. In addition to the human toll of the disease, care for Alzheimer’s, the country’s most expensive condition, costs the nation $203 billion annually with projections to reach $1.2 trillion by 2050. Yet the U.S is spending only slightly more than $500 million total on Alzheimer’s research annually.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter serves the entire state of Maine from its Scarborough office. Collins continues to be one of our nation’s strongest voices on behalf of the people of Maine, and all Americans, who are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. She was a cosponsor of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act which became law in 2010. The law authorized the release of the first National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. Most recently, Senator Collins introduced a bipartisan resolution declaring the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease an “urgent national priority” with the goal of effective treatment by 2025. The resolution calls on Congress to double the amount of funding invested in Alzheimer’s research in 2015 and to develop a plan to meet a target of $2 billion a year over the next five years.
“The Maine Chapter is so appreciative of Senator Collins for her leadership on this issue. We estimate that more than 37,000 Maine families are living with this devastating disease and that, as the baby boomer generation in Maine continues to age, thousands more families will face it in the coming years,” said Laurie Trenholm, Executive Director, in a press release. “Senator Collins recognizes that this is a critical issue for the people of Maine and this country. We are extremely grateful for her efforts to secure this increase in funding as it represents a commitment to our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s disease. This means so much to the families in Maine who are fighting this disease everyday. By raising their voices as advocates, Maine families can raise awareness of this terrible disease and influence policymakers to join in this cause. We are proud that Maine is leading this fight.”
The new federal funding allocated for Alzheimer’s disease includes a $100 million increase for the National Institute on Aging for Alzheimer’s research, which will be added to what the National Institutes of Health estimates will be $484 million in Alzheimer’s research funding across NIH in fiscal year 2013. A further $3.3 million has been provided to support Alzheimer’s caregivers, $4 million to train health professionals on issues related to Alzheimer’s disease, $10.5 million to expand the home and community based caregiver services and $4.2 million for outreach activities to raise awareness. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Initiative will receive $30 million to support brain research that could impact several diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter, including how you can become an Alzheimer’s advocate, visit alz.org/maine.