There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, including 150,000 in Arizona. Over 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, including 346,000 in Arizona.
As someone who has cared for someone with dementia, I understand the enormous burden dementia has on Arizona families and the economy. My family came together to care for my grandmother with dementia and are now having to do so again with my aunt.
The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act would help educate clinicians on Alzheimer’s and dementia care planning services available through Medicare. For individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, care planning is essential to learning about medical and non-medical treatments, clinical trials, and support services available in their community. Accessing these services results in a higher quality of life, fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and better medication management. Thankfully, as of January 2017, Medicare covers critical care planning services. However, not enough patients and providers are aware of this resource.
That’s why I’m asking congressional members Debbie Lesko, Andy Biggs, and David Schweikert to cosponsor the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 880/H.R. 1873). I would also like to thank Senator Kyrsten Sinema and former Sen. Martha McSally and Rep. Ruben Gallego for supporting this much- needed piece of legislation.
Endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association and its advocacy arm, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will give them the knowledge and tools to better help their patients and families living with dementia.
Haleigh Collins is a volunteer for Alzheimer’s Association and resident of Scottsdale.