WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar D-Minn., and Susan Collins R-Maine, have introduced legislation to expand training and support services for families and caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's, a news release said Wednesday.
The legislation would authorize grants to public and nonprofit organizations to expand training and support services that improve caregiver health and allow patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias to stay in their homes longer, the release said.
Klobuchar and Collins have also introduced a Senate resolution declaring that the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025 is an "urgent national priority." Last week, the senators led a bipartisan letter to the president calling for greater investment in Alzheimer's research.
More than five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease and by 2050 that number is expected to grow to 14 million. Caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, who number nearly 16 million, report higher levels of stress and depression than those who provide care to individuals without dementia, which resulted in $10.2 billion in additional health costs for Alzheimer's caregivers in 2015.
"Just as our nation addressed the needs of working mom and dads in the 1970s, we must now address the needs of the nearly 16 million Americans who are caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. These loving caregivers provide nearly 18 billion hours of unpaid care annually with little training and support," Klobuchar said. "That's why Senator Collins and I introduced this bipartisan bill to expand training and support services for caregivers to improve their health and well-being. It will also help caregivers provide better care for their patients with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, allowing patients to stay in the comfort of their homes longer."