Advocates across North Carolina have been hard at work on state and federal levels to bolster policy priorities and access for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias from a public health perspective.
State Advocacy Progress
Alzheimer’s and other dementia have a growing impact on state health systems, budgets, and workforces. By 2050, the number of Americans age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach nearly 13 million. In 2021, 356,000 North Carolina caregivers provided a total of 514 million hours of unpaid care, valued at a total of $7.3 billion for the 180,000 individuals in our state living with Alzheimer’s. This fall has welcomed two significant opportunities to address this impact now and in the future for our state.
North Carolina held its first inaugural Brain Health Conference on September 15 in Raleigh. The conference demonstrated how North Carolina health care professionals, public health organizations and aging services can promote brain health and healthy behaviors in their work. Featured speakers included leaders from the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers, NC Division of Aging and Adult Services, NC Division of Public Health, Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, and the NC Registry for Brain Health. This conference provided needed public health education for nurses, physical therapists, public health educators, social workers, and aging services providers on dementia risk reduction and the state of the science addressing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The conference is intended to be an annual event in North Carolina.
The Alzheimer’s Association Chapters in North Carolina also participated along with 26 other states in the Association’s first State Dementia Services Coordinator Summit in Washington DC on October 25 and 26th. The State DSC Summit served as an ideal learning and networking experience for state agency officials tasked with developing, supporting, and implementing dementia-specific policies across state agencies. North Carolina’s new Dementia Services Coordinator, Heather Carter, represented the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Heather went to the summit with Scott Herrick, the North Carolina Director of Public Policy. Both Heather and Scott look forward to continuing to network with the many officials from other states to craft policy that will benefit North Carolina families impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The North Carolina General Assembly will begin their 2023 legislative session in January. The Alzheimer’s Association hopes you will join us on March 15, 2023 for our NC State Advocacy Day as we travel to Raleigh to share our priorities, and put your stories and needs in front of our state’s elected leaders. Sign up to receive updates on plans and registration for the 2023 NC State Advocacy Day.
Federal Advocacy Activity
Over the last few months, federal Alzheimer’s advocates have urged their members of Congress to support important legislation that aims at investing in Alzheimer’s research and public health infrastructure by increasing federal research dollars through the NIH, increasing diversity and equity in Alzheimer’s clinical trials with the ENACT Act, streamlining the dementia care process with the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act, and continuing to strengthen the national response to Alzheimer’s with the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Investment and Accountability Act. All are invited to join our advocates in asking their representatives to support these pieces of legislation by clicking the links above.
In November, the Association is focusing our advocacy efforts on increasing support for North Carolina dementia caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month. The care provided to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is wide-ranging and, in some instances, all-encompassing. Caregivers for people with dementia tend to provide more time-intensive and extensive assistance and experience more difficulty than caregivers of individuals without dementia.
Thankfully, the bipartisan Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act (H.R. 1474 / S. 56) can provide much-needed relief for our nation’s caregivers. If signed into law, it would provide grants to expand training and support services for unpaid caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. These grants would cover valuable training and services including caregiver support groups, group education, and skills-training sessions.
Join us in using your voice as we close out 2022 :
- Send a message to your representatives and implore Congress to pass the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act (S.56, H.R. 1474).
- Record a short video on Gather Voices to share your caregiving story with legislators and ask for support for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act.
- Join us for an evening filled with fun, advocacy, & holiday cheer. Choose from two in-person locations where you can don festive attire, connect with other advocates, and write cards & notes to send to legislators. RSVP to attend.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most critical public health issues in America. This is why we are unrelentingly advocating for public policies that increase critical research funding and support all those affected. Now is the time to join us.
There have been great strides in policy, but there is still much work to be done. To continue gaining support for our policies, volunteer advocates will continue to share their stories with their elected officials in the coming months. Interested in learning more about our advocacy program at either the state or federal level?