The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are more than 400,000 New Yorkers living with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 1 million Alzheimer’s caregivers.
As an Alzheimer’s advocate and former caregiver for my late husband, it is my honor to represent them.
On March 5, I boarded a bus in Williamsville at the Alzheimer’s Association of Western New York with two dozen others who are impacted by dementia.
We went to Albany to encourage our state leaders to do more. Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda and Assemblymen Angelo J. Morinello, R-Niagara Falls, David DiPietro, R-East Aurora and Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo took the time to listen to our stories and requests.
We asked for $3 million to fund a statewide public awareness campaign focused on early detection. We left hopeful for a future without Alzheimer’s and hopeful that services we need to face the challenge of dementia will be there when we need them.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that Medicaid spending in New York for people with Alzheimer’s will top $5 billion this year.
That number is expected to soar by 24 percent within six years as the state population of those living with the disease climbs by 15 percent.
Right now, Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented, slowed or cured, so it is vital that our elected leaders embrace their role in ensuring services will be available to meet this need and to make sure individuals affected know of these services through publicized awareness.
I am grateful for leaders who understand and embrace efforts to end Alzheimer’s and encourage everyone to speak with their doctors about brain health, and with their elected leaders about ensuring funding will continue to be a priority for Alzheimer’s disease.