New federal law to provide Alzheimer’s relief, education

Local News

KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – New legislation will improve the resources and national response to a debilitating disease.

With a strong showing of bipartisan support, Congress passed the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. It was signed into law last week.

“I think it shows the government is understanding that this is a real issue and we have to deal with it,” said Eric VanVlymen, the executive director for the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley chapter.

The law will create ‘Centers for Excellence’ with public health organizations throughout the country. They will facilitate community education, promote early diagnosis and quality care, as well as support for caregivers.

VanVlymen explained more than 30,000 patients in the Miami Valley are living with Alzheimer’s, in addition to another approximate 90,000 caregivers. Nationwide, the number of patients is nearing six million, with about three caregivers per patient. As Baby Boomers age, the numbers are expected to triple.

The disease, which has no known cure or prevention, is the nation’s sixth leading cause of death. It’s also the most expensive, with many patients requiring long-term care and average Medicare costs triple a non-Alzheimer’s patient.

“It could really be the thing that pushes the care system that we have over the edge,” VanVlymen said.

The Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley chapter serves Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Logan, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties. It provides patients, caregivers, health care providers with support for Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases.

Over the next five to ten years, VanVlymen said the Alzheimer’s Association plans to work with public health entities to fully implement the new changes.

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