FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | January 19, 2012
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Leader Presses for Forward Movement on National Alzheimer’s Plan
NEW YORK, NY—After a two-day meeting of government leaders and private sector experts that focused on the proposed framework of an historic national plan to defeat Alzheimer’s disease, Eric J. Hall, founding president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) and a member of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services established by the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), today released this statement:
“Our nation is placing an intense and unprecedented focus on Alzheimer’s disease right now, giving hope to Americans that the bold recommendations and thoughtful discussion that emerged during his meeting of the Advisory Council and ongoing will result in a powerful plan that turns the tide of the disease.
“In the year since NAPA was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has consistently sought input from family caregivers, clinicians, researchers, healthcare professionals, policymakers and the general public about their personal and professional experiences with Alzheimer’s disease, their recommendations for change and their hopes that the NAPA process goes beyond a ‘check the box exercise.’ Their voices formed the basis of AFA’s report ‘No Time to Waste,’ which provides hard-hitting recommendations that align with the draft plan being discussed by the Advisory Council.
“Never before has our nation been poised like this to pursue and achieve what Americans facing this devastating brain disorder demand and deserve. We are at a pivotal juncture to alter the current course of Alzheimer’s disease, and we must act aggressively yet realistically in order to carry the momentum forward.
“Since fiscal concerns and the growth of the Alzheimer’s population cannot go unnoticed, it is critical that we design this plan with incremental, fundable and attainable goals, which include substantially increasing our scientific knowledge surrounding the disease; preventing, delaying and slowing progression of symptoms; researching and implementing best practices of care; providing much-needed support services for families; and ultimately obtaining the cure we are all waiting for.
“There’s no doubt that we have no time to waste, but it will be vital to engage Congress and sustain their commitment in order to achieve a national plan to defeat Alzheimer’s disease and help countless families now and in the future. Much work lies ahead, but I am confident that we are on the right path toward the resolution of this crisis.”
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) released its “No Time to Waste” report in October 2011 in response to the mandate by NAPA for federal officials to develop an integrated national plan to defeat Alzheimer’s disease. AFA’s report urges wide-scale public awareness campaigns, including messaging to drive earlier detection and to “shift the focus from fear to acceptance of the disease.” Other calls for action include: a substantial investment in research toward the prevention, treatment, care and cure of Alzheimer’s disease; additional dementia training and reimbursement for primary care clinicians; and greater training and support for family caregivers of all demographics, including teenagers and ethnic populations, across the continuum of care.
At the Advisory Council meeting this week, Hall further recommended family-friendly workplace policies; tax breaks for expenses related to caregiving of loved ones with Alzheimer’ disease; and Medicare-provided support services, such as respite care, that can greatly benefit both individuals with the disease and the health and well-being of family caregivers.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free helpline, e-mail, Skype, and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Contact: Carol Steinberg