CNY area Alzheimer’s, dementia advocates to rally support for rising care costs in Albany

Local News

About a dozen Alzheimer’s and dementia care advocates are heading to Albany Tuesday to lobby for more support in treating the disease.

The annual Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released Tuesday morning reveals that New York will make more Medicaid payments for adults age 65 and older living with a form of dementia at more than $5 billion — this year than any other state. California  costs stand at $3.9 billion and Pennsylvania are at $3.5 billion.

“It echoes something we have told policymakers and elected officials for years,” said Catherine James, CEO for the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter. “Alzheimer’s disease will bankrupt the healthcare system in America. It’s not a matter of whether, but a matter of when.”

Advocates connected to the Alzheimer’s Association CNY Chapter are going to Albany to talk about programs that will help keep people with Alzheimer’s out of nursing homes longer and potentially reduce that Medicaid burden.

To read the full report, click here.

Quick facts from the 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report:

  • More people are living with disease. An estimated 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s dementia in 2019, including 400,000 in New York.
  • More family and friends are serving as Alzheimer’s caregivers. In New York, 1,014,000 people provided informal, unpaid care in 2018. They totaled 1.15 billion hours of care at an unpaid value of nearly $14.6 billion.
  • Death rates from Alzheimer’s continue to climb. Deaths due to Alzheimer’s have increased an alarming 145 percent since 2000, while deaths for most other major diseases have decreased. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and eighth leading cause of death in New York. 
  • The costs are unsustainable, according to advocates. New York has the highest Medicaid expenditures for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia at more than $5.037 billion in 2018.

Additionally, the CNY Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association notes this year’s special report highlights an important disconnect. Despite a strong belief among seniors that cognitive assessments are important and that early detection is beneficial, only half are being assessed for cognitive decline, and just one in seven seniors (16 percent) receive regular assessments for memory or thinking issues during routine health checkups, compared to other common evaluations like cholesterol (83 percent), hearing or vision (73 percent), and diabetes (66 percent). 

For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association, click here.

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