Press Release

With 5 Million Americans Suffering From Alzheimer’s, Gillibrand Introduces Legislation To Improve Patient Care And Caregiver Support

Nov 23, 2009

Washington, D.C. – With an estimated 5 million
Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
introduced legislation that would improve treatment services for
Alzheimer’s patients and expand training and support services for their
families and caregivers. The Alzheimer’s
Treatment and Caregiver Support Act
provide grants to public and nonprofit organizations to improve patient
treatment services and support services for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced similar legislation in the House
of Representatives last week.

“Alzheimer’s deeply affects families across New York,” said Senator
Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
“In the
coming years, as our aged population grows, more families will be living with
this heartbreaking disease for which there is no known cure.  We must do
more to ensure that patients suffering from this condition are receiving
the best care possible, and that Alzheimer’s caregivers looking after the needs
of our loved ones are receiving the highest level of assistance and the best
training techniques. This legislation addresses gaping holes in the
current support system for victims of Alzheimer’s, and works to ensure that
patients and caregivers receive the resources they deserve.”   

“This legislation recognizes that
families and other caregivers taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s must
have the dementia care training they need to manage needed care,” said Robert
Egge, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy at the Alzheimer’s
.  “The bill also provides services tailored to the unique
needs of each individual with dementia, and expands community based services,
especially in underserved communities, to assist families in need.”

The Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act would
provide grants to organizations that employ a comprehensive approach to care
that integrates patient treatment techniques with training and support services
for families and caregivers. A majority of Alzheimer’s patients remain at home
and cared for by family members, who look after their physical, emotional,
medical, legal, and financial affairs. Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be
extremely stressful – more than 40 percent of caregivers rate the emotional
stress of the disease’s dementia symptoms as high or very high and about
one-third suffer from depression.

Programs across New York could apply for funding through the Alzheimer’s
Treatment and Caregiver Support Act
to enhance their services. For example,
Day Haven, an adult day services program for Alzheimer’s patients located on
Long Island, prevents patients from being confined to a nursing home.
Approximately 90 percent of their participants suffer from dementia and cannot
be left alone. With federal dollars, Day Haven would be able to offer more
stimulating social activities program, extend their flexible hours (including
weekends) to help working families, and provide emergency respite care. They
could also help with offsite services including transportation, meal and
nutrition needs and dementia-proofing homes.

Another example, Ozanam Hall, located in Bayside, Queens, cares
for more than 200 residents suffering from Alzheimer’s. Federal dollars would
support programs like their “Love Made Visible” program, which includes a
daylong care program featuring social stimuli, communications exercises and
hot, nutritious meals.