WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act to expand training and support services for families and caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

More than six million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and by 2050 that number is expected to grow to 13 million. The nearly 11 million caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias report higher levels of stress and depression than those who provide care to individuals without dementia, which resulted in $11.4 billion in additional health costs for Alzheimer’s caregivers in 2017. This legislation would authorize grants to public and non-profit organizations to expand training and support services that improve caregiver health and delay long-term care facility admissions by keeping loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in their homes longer.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ).

“Watching a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia is heartbreaking—and we need to make sure those caring for family members have the resources and support they need,” Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan bill will expand training and support services for family caregivers to improve their well-being and health. It will also allow patients to stay in the comfort of their homes longer, improving their quality of life.”

“Millions of Americans devote enormous time and attention and make many personal and financial sacrifices to ensure that their loved ones have the high-quality care they need day in and day out.  These individuals know all too well the compassion, commitment, and endurance that it takes to be a caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease,” Collins said.  “Our bipartisan legislation would help expand the availability of resources and training services for family caregivers to ensure they can continue to provide quality care for their loved ones.”

“For so many people, the devastating and costly effects of Alzheimer’s on loved ones are extremely difficult to deal with, and that pain is only compounded by the fact that there is still no effective treatment,” Waters said. “Alzheimer’s continues to wreak havoc on our country, our healthcare system, and the lives and well-being of caregivers who struggle greatly with emotional, physical, and financial difficulties. This legislation would help to ease the heavy burden they face by providing grants for training and support services for families and caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, and ensure that women, minorities, and medically underserved communities will benefit from the program. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alzheimer’s was the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and as we move forward it is absolutely essential that we work to support those providing comfort and care for Americans living with Alzheimer’s.”

Klobuchar and Collins introduced a bipartisan resolution declaring that the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025 is an "urgent national priority." In March 2018, they successfully increased National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for Alzheimer’s disease research by more than $400 million.

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