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Alzheimer’s Burden Demands Policy Solutions

Muddled memories. Frustrated communication. Delusions and paranoia. These are common experiences for people living with Alzheimer’s, a progressive disease with a growing impact. 

A new paper from the Alliance for Patient Access, “Overburdened by Alzheimer’s: The Need for Care Innovation and Access,” highlights the disease’s burden and explores policies that could improve patient care. 

Costs Continue to Skyrocket  

The burden of Alzheimer’s – to patients, their loved ones and society at large – is immense, the paper shows. Today, 6 million Americans live with the disease, and another 11 million act as caregivers. Alzheimer’s costs society roughly $300 billion annually. 

And the challenge will only grow, the paper explains. As society becomes older, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is projected to rise, reaching approximately 12 million by 2050. Greater incidence of the disease will, inevitably, increase costs to society. 

The situation demands thoughtful policy solutions, the paper explains.  

Bold Public Policy Is Needed 

While no cure exists, treatment can slow Alzheimer’s progression and relieve patients’ symptoms. The paper identifies several policy solutions to help patients access innovative treatments and effective care: 

  • Better coverage. Health plans can improve coverage for screenings, like PET scans and blood biomarker tests, to improve patients’ odds of getting a timely and accurate diagnosis. 
  • Ongoing research. Funds can be invested for more research into disease-modifying therapies, and insurers can ensure they’re accessible to patients as they become available. 
  • Caregiver support. Policymakers can collaborate to better support and resource caregivers. 
  • Long-term care solutions. Policy solutions can make both at-home care and long-term care more accessible and affordable. 

Hope for an Alzheimer’s cure remains. But in the meantime, the paper concludes, the nation can’t afford to simply wait.  

Learn more about policy reforms to address the burden of Alzheimer’s in “Overburdened by Alzheimer’s: The Need for Care, Innovation and Access.”

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