Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation Introduced to Help Support Alzheimer’s Patients and Caregivers
July 13, 2016 12:23 PM
U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI.), along with U.S. Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Linda Sánchez (D-CA), recently introduced legislation to support Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers, as well as reduce the costs of treating Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
In announcing the legislation, the Members of Congress highlighted that more than 15 million Americans serve as family caregivers to loved ones living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and these caregivers provide nearly 18 billion hours of unpaid care annually. As a result, they face numerous challenges, financial and otherwise. The Alzheimer’s Beneficiary and Caregiver Support Act would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to test whether providing increased caregiver supports would help keep Alzheimer’s disease patients in the home setting for a longer period of time rather than receiving more costly institutional care.
“Having recently shared in the caregiving of parents with Alzheimer’s, I understand the difficulties that caregivers face and the significant costs involved,” said Senator Capito. “As of 2015, there were 108,000 Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers who provided 123 million total hours of unpaid care across West Virginia – that unpaid care is valued at more than $1.5 billion. With 37,000 West Virginians currently living with Alzheimer’s, and the Medicaid costs for treating Alzheimer’s in West Virginia totaling $368 million, we must pursue solutions like the Alzheimer’s Beneficiary and Caregiver Support Act to help ease the burden on patients, caregivers and federal health programs.”
“Alzheimer's is a heartbreaking disease that affects the entire family,” said Senator Stabenow. “For the half million caregivers and 185,000 Alzheimer's patients in Michigan, we are working to make sure that more people affected by Alzheimer's can stay in their homes and with their families longer. Today's bill is an important step towards reducing the burden of care and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and the House to move this forward.”
“Nearly 5% of all Americans provide home care to a parent or relative with Alzheimer's or dementia. They do so out of love, compassion, and kindness – and God bless them for their sacrifices. We, as lawmakers, must do more to support the physical, emotional, and financial challenges of home care-giving. I'm proud to introduce the Alzheimer's Beneficiary and Caregiver Support Act as a first step to meet that responsibility,” said Congressman Roskam.
“I am proud to introduce the Alzheimer’s Beneficiary and Caregiver Support Act which will provide support services for caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. As someone whose parents suffer from this devastating illness, I am acutely aware of the pain and hardship that Alzheimer’s disease inflicts on families all across this country. Studies have shown that providing support to caregivers improves their capability to take care for their loved ones and keeps more Alzheimer’s patients in their own home. This bill addresses a critical need in our health care system and will finally provide help to those who care for our loved ones,” said Congresswoman Sánchez.
The Alzheimer’s caregiver support services outlined in the legislation include individual and family counseling, participation in a caregiver support group, and ad-hoc counseling via telephone.
To view a one-pager on the bill, click here.
To view the bill text, click here.