FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 24, 2010
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Applauds Senate Judiciary Committee Vote to Reauthorize Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program
NEW YORK, NY — The following is a statement by Richard E. Powers, chairman of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Medical Advisory Board, in response to the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval today of a measure reauthorizing the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program. The bill would authorize $35 million over seven years for grants to nonprofit organizations. The House passed the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, by a voice vote in February 2009.
“The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America thanks the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for voting 14 to 5 in favor of H.R. 908, a bill to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program. We especially thank Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for his leadership and support of this Department of Justice grant program that funds efforts to help locate missing persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
“As many as 5.1 million Americans currently have Alzheimer's disease, and as the baby boomers age, the incidence of this disease will significantly increase. It is estimated that 60 percent of individuals with Alzheimer's disease are likely to wander from their homes. Wanderers are vulnerable to dehydration, adverse weather conditions, traffic hazards and individuals who prey on those who are defenseless. Up to 50 percent of wandering individuals with Alzheimer's disease will become seriously injured or die if they are not found within 24 hours of their departure.
“Reauthorization of the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program is essential to address the issue of wandering and Alzheimer’s disease, and its impact not just on individuals with the disease and their family caregivers but also on local law enforcement. By supporting this vital Department of Justice initiative, the Committee has clearly recognized that wandering is an important public safety issue.
“The AFA looks forward to working with Chairman Leahy and Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring H.R. 908 to a floor vote soon. This valuable program has the potential to protect the safety of many more Americans affected by Alzheimer’s disease and provide priceless peace-of-mind to their families.”
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York and made up of more than 1,400 member organizations nationwide that provide hands-on programs to meet the educational, emotional and practical needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses, and their families. AFA’s services include a toll-free helpline, counseling, educational materials, a free caregiver magazine and professional training. For information, call (Toll-Free Helpline) 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Contact: Carol Steinberg