SOURCE: Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Alzheimer's Foundation of America

February 09, 2016 16:25 ET

Alzheimer's Foundation Expresses Disappointment in Proposed $337 Million Cut at the National Institute on Aging in FY 2017

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - February 09, 2016) - The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing optimal care and services for people with Alzheimer's disease and their families, expressed disappointment in the proposed $337 million cut at the National Institute on Aging (NIA contained in President Obama's fiscal year 2017 (FY '17) budget. The NIA is the nation's leading funder of Alzheimer's disease research.

AFA had called upon the Administration to build on the historic 60 percent increase in Alzheimer's disease research funding that was included in the FY'16 budget, by providing an additional $1 billion for Alzheimer's disease research in FY'17. Such an increase would put total federal spending for Alzheimer's disease research at close to $2 billion, the amount that a consensus of Alzheimer's disease researchers say is necessary if we are to accomplish the goal of finding a cure -- or meaningful treatment of the disease -- by 2025, as articulated in the "National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease."

Currently, Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with some studies suggesting it could be as high as the third-leading cause, yet it is the only disease state in the top 10 for which there is neither a cure nor impactful treatment. Further, even with the FY'16 funding increase, Alzheimer's research still lags far behind HIV/AIDS, cancer and heart disease.

"The Administration has been a champion in the fight against Alzheimer's disease; however, we are disappointed that, in his final budget, the President is retreating," said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., president and chief executive officer at AFA. "We were hoping President Obama would take the dramatic step necessary to confront the dementia crisis in this country head-on. We will continue to work with Congressional appropriators to ensure we are on the path to a cure."

In addition to increased research dollars, AFA also requested a $40 million increase for caregiver services at the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to fund Alzheimer's disease demonstration grants, case management, respite care and caregiver training and support under the Alzheimer's Disease Initiative. Such services are crucial in helping caregivers cope with daily challenges of the disease, help individuals living with Alzheimer's disease have better health outcomes, and can delay the need for costly nursing home placement -- things that save precious government resources. AFA also requested $5 million go to the Department of Justice, in FY'17, to fund the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program.

Bert E. Brodsky, AFA's founder and board chairman, cautioned that, "Before there is a cure, we must make sure that there's access to care. As a former caregiver myself, I know the obstacles families must overcome to keep a loved one, who is living with dementia, out of a nursing home. Federal programs that provide specialized dementia training and supports to caregivers are vital in helping ensure a meaningful quality of life for individuals with dementia and their families."

About Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA):

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a non-profit founded to fill the gap that existed on a national level assuring quality of care and excellence in service to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and to their caregivers and families. AFA unites more than 2,400 member organizations from coast-to-coast that are dedicated to meeting the educational, social, emotional and practical needs of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their families. Under AFA's umbrella, these organizations collaborate on education, resources, best practices and advocacy -- all resulting in better care for people affected by the disease. AFA's services include a national, toll-free helpline staffed by licensed social workers, educational materials, professional training, community outreach, free quarterly caregiver magazine, research funding, public advocacy and programmatic services. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit http://www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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