WASHINGTON, D.C., March 25, 2020 — The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) applaud Congress for passing bipartisan legislation that will improve health outcomes for individuals living with younger-onset dementia and their families. The Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 — which reauthorizes the Older Americans Act (OAA) — includes key provisions of the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act, which ensures Americans living with dementia will have access to vital and affordable services regardless of age.
“Regardless of age, anyone who receives and is living with an Alzheimer’s or other dementia diagnosis faces unimaginable physical, emotional and financial challenges,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “With the passage of this critical legislation, Congress has ensured these individuals and their families are not denied many of the services they desperately need.”
The bipartisan Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act was introduced in March 2019 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 allows individuals under age 60 who are diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia to access the OAA’s support programs.
“The progression of Alzheimer’s disease is devastating, regardless of whether someone is older than 60 or younger than 60 when he or she is diagnosed,” 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. I am pleased that the Senate passed our bipartisan legislation to provide access to these critical services to patients younger than 60, which would ensure that all Americans with Alzheimer’s have access to the care, support, and resources they need.”
“The Older Americans Act serves more than 11 million Americans each year, including 400,000 people throughout Pennsylvania. It represents our commitment to the generations before us and lifts up the older adults who need our help the most, including the hundreds of thousands of Americans living with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s disease,” said Sen. Casey. “This legislation would ensure that individuals who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease earlier in life can access the services and supports that are available through the Older Americans Act to help people age with dignity.”
The OAA provides 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. Today’s bipartisan Congressional action ensures those living with younger-onset dementia have access to support services including nutritional services, supportive services, and respite care through the National Family Caregiver Support program, despite their age.
“This reauthorization of the Older Americans Act ensures that the hundreds of thousands of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease receive the care and support that they desperately need,” said Rep. Rice. “OAA-funded programs are essential to people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, and I am thrilled the House-passed reauthorization included my provision to expand these programs to those with younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Every person and every family suffering from this disease deserves the same level of support and care.”
“Alzheimer’s is devastating. It is essential that all patients and their caregivers have access to essential services regardless of their age. I am proud to have played a part in making sure that components of the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act were incorporated into the OAA,” said Rep. King.
The Alzheimer’s Association, AIM and a nation-wide network of dedicated advocates have worked to grow bipartisan support for the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act. The bill had 233 cosponsors in the House and 41 in the Senate.
“We are grateful to all of the members who cosponsored this important legislation, and to Sen. Collins, Sen. Casey, Rep. Rice and Rep. King for their leadership fighting for the hundreds of thousands of Americans living with younger-onset dementia and their families,” said Egge.
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 a separately incorporated advocacy affiliate 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]