Across Western New York, 55,000 people live with the life-altering and incurable disease of Alzheimer's or a related dementia. Another 155,000 people provide some kind of care - mostly non-paid, family care - and research indicates that Alzheimer's is the defining disease of the baby-boom generation.
Costs to Medicare will increase more than 600 percent, with families bearing an out-of-pocket increase in expenses of more than 400 percent by 2050.
In 2011, New York state, through the state health department's Alzheimer's Community Assistance Program (AlzCAP), invested just $1.84 for every New Yorker diagnosed with the disease. When New York committed to making a difference in fighting AIDS and cancer, with a much more generous allocation, those monies produced valuable and life-improving programs for those living with these devastating diseases. We are now urging the governor to make the same commitment to improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
Please log on to the Alzheimer's Association, WNY Chapter website (www.alz.org/wny/) and look for the link to send a letter to the governor encouraging him to step-up the state's fight against Alzheimer's by increasing funding to AlzCAP. Just fill in the boxes with your name and address, click 'send message' and your letter will be sent electronically to the Governor.
As always, if you have questions about Alzheimer's disease or dementia, we are available 24/7 to take your call: 1-800-272-3900.
ERIC WIEDEMANN, Psy. D
president, board of directors
Alzheimer's Association, WNY
and LEILANI JOVEN PELLETIER, MS,
Alzheimer's Association, WNY Chapter