Alzheimer’s Association Sees Increase in Federal Support, continued from page 5 signed into law. The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) created an advisory council to make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services in three key areas: research, clinical care, and long-term services and support. “That was the first time we really saw the federal government put an emphasis on Alzheimer’s funding and research,” Conant said. She added with this latest $414 million NIH increase earmarked for Alzheimer’s and dementia research, federal funding has now risen to $1.8 billion. A great deal of work is being done to better understand the underlying mechanism of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and there are a number of promising drug trials underway that hope to stop or slow down disease progression. “We’re really excited about the focus not only on treatment but on prevention,” said Conant. “We just announced the 2018 launch of the Pointer Study, which is a two-year
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clinical trial to look at multifactorial and lifestyle interventions to prevent cognitive decline and dementia,” she continued. The intervention methods will include exercise, nutritional counseling, cognitive and social stimulation, and improved self-management of health conditions. For more information, go online to alz.org/us-pointer.
Kevin & Avonte’s Law
Also included in the omnibus bill was funding for Kevin and Avonte’s Law, bipartisan legislation to protect seniors with dementia and children with developmental disabilities who are prone to wander. Conant said AIM has spent several years working on the bill, which reauthorizes the Missing Americans Alert Program through fiscal year 2022 and expands the program to include those with developmental disabilities. Introduced by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) in the House and Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in the Senate, the new law provides up to $2 million in grants each year to state and local agencies for programs to prevent wandering or locate missing individuals.
RAISE-ing Caregivers Up
Yet another legislative win for the Alzheimer’s Association and AIM came earlier this year with passage of the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act.
“From the Alzheimer’s perspective, we know there are more than 15 million caregivers providing unpaid care to individuals,” said Conant. The 2018 Facts and Figures report estimated these individuals provide 18.4 billion hours of care valued at over $232 billion. Research has shown caregivers of people with dementia report higher levels of stress, depression and worse health outcomes than those caring for individuals without dementia. In 2017, these additional stressors led to Alzheimer’s caregivers incurring an extra $10.9 billion in health costs. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Reps. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) introduced the bipartisan legislation. The new law directs the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategy to provide education and training, longterm services and supports, and financial stability and security for caregivers. Conant said her organization worked closely with AARP to push for passage of RAISE, which was modeled off of NAPA. “It will require a plan to be updated annually,” Conant said. “It’s also going to create a National Family Caregiving Council to provide recommendations to the (HHS) Secretary.”
Providers & Care Planning
Conant said the Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for
Alzheimer’s Act that passed in November 2016 provides a funding mechanism for providers to be reimbursed for assessing and discussing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and available treatment and support options to improve or maintain quality of life. “Beginning in 2017 for the first time, people living with Alzheimer’s now have access to care planning with a medical professional, and it’s paid for by Medicare,” she said, adding the Alzheimer’s Association has a downloadable care planning toolkit for providers. For more information, go online to alz.org/careplanning.
“The goal is to prevent or effectively treat Alzheimer’s by 2025,” said Conant. “We’re excited about our progress, but we know we have a long way to go.”
AAIC 18 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference • July 22-26: 2018 Annual Conference • July 20-21: Preconference McCormick Place • Chicago For Information or to Register, Go Online to alz.org/aaic
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Memphis Medical News May 2018