This year, the annual cost of caring for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will reach $259 billion, $175 billion of which comes in direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Yet in 2016, for every $100 the U.S. government spent on Alzheimer’s research, $16,000 was spent by Medicare and Medicaid to care for those living with the disease.
Thankfully, Congress is taking action. Just recently, a $400 million increase in Alzheimer’s research funding was approved. I am proud that 9th District U.S. Rep. Doug Collins voted for this historic increase.
The human toll of Alzheimer’s is obvious, especially to someone like me who is a descendent of family members who perished from this dreadful disease. Today, there are more than 5 million Americans living with this disease, the only leading cause of death without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.
Barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s, the number of Americans with the disease is set to triple over the next 35 years, and the cost of care will increase to $1.1 trillion in 2050.
It is only through adequate funding and a strong implementation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease that we will meet its goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025. Please join me in thanking Rep. Collins for his commitment in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.
Robert (Rob) Polak
Flowery Branch, Ambassador, Alzheimer’s Association