In recent days, staunch supporters including Senators Susan Collins (ME), Edward Markey (MA), Amy Klobuchar (MN), and Jerry Moran (KS) have encouraged President Obama to include an increase for Alzheimer’s research in his FY 2016 budget. After all, what’s a “plan” to end Alzheimer’s by 2025 without the funding necessary to do so?
And the Verdict is in
Disappointment ensued as the Obama Administration released the proposed budget yesterday, and Alzheimer’s was overlooked. In a press release, George Vradenburg, co-founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s said, “If we as a nation do not make Alzheimer’s research a top priority, we simply cannot meet our national goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by 2025.”
What will it take to convince our government that unless we do something to stop it, Alzheimer’s will be the public health crisis of our lifetime? Perhaps the powers-that-be need to listen carefully to Michael Auslin’s story, or that of Karen Garner, whose husband was diagnosed before his 50th birthday. What about Rebecca Emily Darling, who was just 26-years-old when her mother was diagnosed?
Proof in the Numbers
- Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed. More than 500,000 people die annually from Alzheimer’s.
- Deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases decreased.
- More than 5 million Americans are living with some form of dementia. If we remain on the current trajectory, that number will rise to 16 million by 2050.
- Every 67 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s. By 2050, it will be every 33 seconds.
- In 2014, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s totaled over $200 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.
- Unless something is done to stop it, Alzheimer’s will cost an estimated $1.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) in 2050. Costs to Medicare and Medicaid will increase nearly 500 percent.
For more information, check out the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2014 Facts and Figures report.
Consider this: Alzheimer’s research spending currently stands at less than 1% of the cost of care.
If not now, when?
It’s been said there are two kinds of people: those who have been personally touched by Alzheimer’s and those who will be.