Concord, NH – Alzheimer’s is a disease that touches families all over America, including many families in New Hampshire, yet the amount of funding going towards Alzheimer’s research is not matching the rate at which the disease is growing. Advocates across the Granite State are joining together with NewHampshireAgainstAlzheimer’s to educate presidential candidates and the general public about this increasingly unmet need and help ensure that more is done to stop the disease.
“November is National Alzheimer’s Month. The U.S. has 5.4 million Americans that are afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease, a number that is expected to triple in the coming decades,” said Laura Anderson, a nurse practitioner in Concord, NH. “And by 2020, the number of Granite Staters suffering from the disease will rise by 5 percent to nearly 23,000 individuals aged 65 years and older without a national strategy to fight the disease.”
“The advocacy group, NewHampshireAgainstAlzheimer’s is working to bring Alzheimer’s to the forefront of our national conversation and bring greater focus to the growing Alzheimer’s crisis,” Anderson continued. “We are advocating for the rapid enactment of a National Alzheimer’s Plan that will increase innovative Alzheimer’s research and discovery that will help stop the disease by 2020.”
That Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and remains the only disease in the top ten with no disease-modifying treatment or cure, is not lost on those who care for people with Alzheimer’s.
Anderson observed, “New Hampshire has 63,808 caregivers who support someone living with Alzheimer’s – an emotionally and physically demanding job that can cause significant health problems including high blood pressure and depression. Caregiving is often unpaid and the responsibility of families. In just New Hampshire, the value of unpaid care for those living with Alzheimer’s totaled nearly $867,000,000 in 2010 alone.”
Each year, Alzheimer’s costs U.S. taxpayers $183 billion, mostly in Medicare and Medicaid expenses. However, by 2020, Alzheimer’s will cost the Americans more than $2 trillion; and by 2050, the disease will drain $1 trillion annually from the U.S.
Despite the threat Alzheimer’s poses to the financial stability of the U.S., the National Institutes of Health only invest about $450 million per year toward Alzheimer’s research – less than $90 per person. That is something New Hampshire based-organization NewHampshireAgainstAlzheimer’s, and its national counterpart USAgainstAlzheimer’s is hoping to change. USAgainstAlzheimer’s is actively involved with the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services to assist in the development of a National Strategic Plan for Alzheimer’s that aims to accelerate needed innovation in research and drug discovery, and fashion accountability mechanisms for steps required to manage the impact and cost of the disease, including the burden for those currently living with Alzheimer’s.
The research community believes it is possible to stop Alzheimer’s by 2020, but only with renewed national focus and sustained investment. To achieve that end, NewHampshireAgainstAlzheimer’s is uniting members of the Alzheimer’s community, and engaging with presidential candidates in the state to urge them to develop a strategy. New Hampshire’s effort is being co-directed by veteran political advisors Joel Maiola and Laura Simoes.
NewHampshireAgainstAlzheimer’s is an NH-led effort of the national USAgainstAlzheimer’s (USA2) campaign to mobilize America to stop Alzheimer’s by 2020. Stopping Alzheimer’s is essential to the fiscal sustainability of Medicare and Medicaid and to the health and financial well being of millions of American families. Congress and the President have the power to adopt this goal and to make the investments needed to achieve it.