Collins, Klobuchar Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Families and Caregivers of Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

Legislation would authorize grants to public and non-profit organizations to expand training and support services that improve caregiver health and allow patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to stay in their homes longer

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation to expand training and support services for families and caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The legislation would authorize grants to public and non-profit organizations that improve caregiver health and allow patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to stay in their homes longer. 

“Today, there are nearly 16 million Americans who devote enormous time and attention and make many personal and financial sacrifices to ensure that their loved ones have the high-quality care they need day in and day out. These individuals know all too well the compassion, commitment, and endurance that it takes to be a caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Senator Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee. “Our bipartisan legislation would help expand the availability of resources and training services to provide caregivers with the support they need.”

“Just as our nation addressed the needs of working mom and dads in the 1970s, we must now address the needs of the nearly 16 million Americans who are caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. These loving caregivers provide nearly 18 billion hours of unpaid care annually with little training and support,” Senator Klobuchar said. “That’s why Senator Collins and I introduced this bipartisan bill to expand training and support services for caregivers to improve their health and well-being. It will also help caregivers provide better care for their patients with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, allowing patients to stay in the comfort of their homes longer.”

As the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee and the founder and co-chair of the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force, working to support caregivers and increase federal funding for biomedical research are among Senator Collins’ top priorities. In 2011, Senator Collins introduced the National Alzheimer’s Project Act with then-Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). That law convened a panel of experts, who determined that $2 billion per year in research funding is needed to achieve our goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by the year 2025. In 2015, following Senator Collins’ strong advocacy, Congress approved a $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research, the largest ever increase for Alzheimer’s research funding and bringing total funding nearly halfway to the $2 billion goal.

Earlier this week, Senators Collins and Klobuchar introduced a Senate resolution declaring that the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025 is an “urgent national priority.” In addition, last week, the Senators led a bipartisan letter to the President calling for greater investment in Alzheimer’s research.

More than five million Americans, including 37,000 in Maine, are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2050, that number is expected to grow to 14 million. Caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, who number nearly 16 million, report higher levels of stress and depression than those who provide care to individuals without dementia, which resulted in $10.2 billion in additional health costs for Alzheimer’s caregivers in 2015.