WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2019 – The Alzheimer's Association and its advocacy arm, the Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM), announced its support for the bipartisan Younger-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Act. Introduced today by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in the Senate, and Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Pete King (R-N.Y.), David Trone (D-Md.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) in the House, the legislation would amend the Older Americans Act (OAA) to allow individuals under age 60 who are diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer's disease to access the OAA's support programs.
“Individuals living with younger-onset face unique challenges when it comes to family, work, and finances. The resources available under the OAA are a critically important support system for older individuals with Alzheimer's, and we must make them available to individuals with younger-onset Alzheimer's and other dementias too,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “We are grateful to the bill's sponsors for their bipartisan leadership to address the challenges facing the more than 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 living with Alzheimer's.”
“Whether someone is older than 60 or younger than 60 when he or she is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the progression of this terrible disease is the same,” said Sen. Collins, a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. “Since Alzheimer's is not restricted by age, neither should the programs designed to assist these Americans and their families. Our legislation would ensure access to these critical services to patients younger than 60 so that all Americans with Alzheimer's have access to the care, support, and resources they need.”
Since 1965 the OAA has provided support to America's seniors in their homes and communities by organizing and delivering nutritional programs, in-home services, transportation, legal services, elder-abuse prevention and caregiver support. Under current law, only those over the age of 60 are OAA-eligible, leaving Americans currently living with younger-onset Alzheimer's unable to access vital OAA-funded programs and services that older Americans rely on. The Younger-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Act would address this disparity and ensure those individuals living with early-onset Alzheimer's have to access support services including nutritional services, supportive services, and respite care through the National Family Caregiver Support program
“Too often, people living with younger-onset Alzheimer's are shut out from vital services and programs simply because of their age,” said Rep. Rice. “These individuals begin to show symptoms as early as their 30s, 40s and 50s, when they have young children, new homes and growing careers. Virtually overnight, their families are faced with unimaginable hardship, and right now, they aren't eligible for the critical support offered under the Older Americans Act. My bill will fix that. It'll ensure that people living with younger-onset Alzheimer's and their caregivers have access to the resources they need and deserve, regardless of their age.”
The Younger-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Act is consistent with the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. The Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services, which is responsible for updating and implementing the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, has noted that persons living with younger-onset Alzheimer's face unique challenges in accessing care. In the 2017 National Plan, the Advisory Council recommended that Congress amend the OAA to allow additional services to be provided to younger adults living with dementia.
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit alz.org.
Alzheimer's Impact Movement
The Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM) is the advocacy arm of the Alzheimer's Association. AIM works to develop and advance policies to overcome Alzheimer's disease through increased investment in research, enhanced care and improved support. For more information, visit alzimpact.org.
Laura Cilmi, 202.638.8673, [email protected]