Assemblyman Steven Englebright and Senator Martin Golden Join Forces to Push a Package of Bills to Address Growing Issues Related to Alzheimer’s Disease
“#1 health crisis of the 21st century” – State Assembly and Senate press conference on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia
March 6, 2007
Albany, NY – New York Assembly member Steven Englebright and Senator Martin Golden, chairs, respectively of the committees on aging in their houses, said their committees would today approve a series of bills dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In 1992, the Legislature established the Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias to identify priorities, policy alternatives and emerging issues with respect to caregivers and individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. According to the task force, three hundred thousand older New York state residents suffer from dementia and this number is projected to continue growing rapidly. During the next decade, the oldest segment of New York State’s population will account for over forty percent of all persons with dementia and these persons will require a wide array of services. Thus the urgency has increased for implementing both public health and social services initiatives to help persons with dementia and their caregivers. This package of legislation will take proactive steps to develop a state Alzheimer’s disease plan, provide for earlier identification and intervention for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, to promote public outreach and education related to Alzheimer’s disease, provide training and education to professionals to raise their level of competency when working with persons with Alzheimer’s disease and to provide funds for support services and tax credits for state of the art locater technology, to decrease the risk of wandering. "I am very pleased to be here today with my colleague, Senator Golden, to introduce what I think is one of the most important packages that will be advanced in the legislature this year.” said Steven Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging. "Coined the disease of the 21st century, Alzheimer's disease and related dementia has a tremendous impact on an individual, their family and caregivers and on state spending. This package of bills will force the state to begin to deal with this problem by creating a state plan, training and educating the general public, caregivers and professionals and fund programs that are proven to enhance the individuals and the caregivers quality of life while delaying nursing home placement. I can think of nothing less important than helping New York's families better cope with this debilitating disease and sending a clear message that they are not alone.” “Our State is aging faster than most States in the country, relative to our population, and Alzheimer’s and dementia are diseases that primarily affect the senior population,” Senator Golden said. "We know that one fourth of individuals with mild Alzheimer's disease progress to severe Alzheimer's within five years, and that another quarter die in this time period, that Alzheimer’s accounts for some 7% of the annual hospitalizations among older New Yorkers. There is no cure to the disease, but there is help. Things that Assemblyman Englebright and I have been promoting – an active healthy lifestyle, mental stimulation, education, re-employment, can all help to forestall the onset of the disease, and we can help families and caregivers cope with it.” The five bill package includes:
- Alzheimer’s Disease Plan for New York (A.899-A/S.2448): establishes a coordinating council of key state government policy makers and advocates and charges them with developing and updating a New York State plan.
- Tax credit for purchase of locator technology (A.4146/S.2450): provides a tax credit for the purchase of state of the art locator technology to help keep safe individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Such individuals have a tendency to wander. Several devices use GPS technology to help locate these individuals.
- Appropriation for Assistance programs (A.4147): appropriates money for caregiver support services, including Alzheimer's disease Assistance Centers (ADAC), Alzheimer's disease Community Service Program (ADCSP) and the Alzheimer's Community Assistance Program (AlzCAP).
- Require cognitive impairment tests when entering or on discharge from hospitals (A.4148/S.2449): requires hospitals to determine if patients have cognitive impairments on entry or discharge. Dementia is typically undiagnosed until late, and asking simple questions can result in earlier diagnosis which leads to improved coordination of treatment and services, slowing the progression of the disease and better outcomes.
- Alzheimer's disease outreach and education program (A.4149/S.2451): to promote professional and public awareness of the best practices for early identification of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and the roles that caregivers can provide. Requires development of training curricula, public service announcements, and other efforts and material for medical as well as non-medical personnel.