November is National Family Caregivers Month. Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease which robs individuals of their memories and then their life. The disease also profoundly affects family caregivers. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 16 million Americans are providing unpaid care for people with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, amounting to 18.5 billion hours annually. The brunt of this work is done by family members.
5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s. That number will increase as our population continues to age. The toll on both caregivers and taxpayers is and will continue to be great. One role Congress plays is to provide for adequate research funding to find the cause and the cure for this dreadful disease. In addition, the federal government should encourage both private and public efforts to address caregiver issues.
As chairman of the Finance Committee I will continue to support policies which provide access to quality long-term care for the most vulnerable and funding for research for a cure.