Alzheimer's doesn't just impact older Americans. An estimated 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 are currently living with the disease. People living with younger-onset Alzheimer's face unique challenges when it comes to family, work, and finances. The stigma associated with younger-onset Alzheimer's can also have a significant impact on their well-being and quality of life. However, because of their young age these individuals are not eligible for support and service programs available to older Americans.
The Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM) is proud to work with bipartisan leaders in Congress to advance the Younger-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Act of 2019 (H.R. 1903/S. 901). This important bill would allow individuals living with dementia under the age of 60 to access supports and services from programs under the Older Americans Act (OAA). Those programs include nutritional services, supportive services, and respite care through the National Family Caregiver Support program. Additionally, this legislation requires that the Assistant Secretary for Aging submit a report to Congress about Alzheimer's-related programs and program performance, and any gaps in the programs for the needs of individuals living with younger-onset Alzheimer's disease.
The services provided under the OAA are particularly helpful for individuals with younger-onset AD and related dementias who need assistance with activities of daily living. Services also provide vital assistance, support and respite to family caregivers through the National Family Caregiver Program and help to maintain the independence of the individual living with AD.
The OAA was enacted in 1965 to expand and improve the services available to Americans aged 60 and older. The law focuses on delivering home- and community-based programs and supports, including nutritional programs, in-home services, transportation, legal services, elder abuse prevention, and caregiver support. OAA services are targeted at older individuals who have the greatest economic and social need, have low income, are members of low-income minority groups, reside in rural areas, have limited English proficiency, or are at risk of entering a nursing home.