Jan 16 2019

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, has pushed through legislation to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health. The bipartisan bill was recently signed into law by President Trump.

“Successfully getting this legislation signed into law has a deep personal meaning for me, as I was a caregiver for my grandmother during her battle with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Tillis.

The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will apply a public health approach to reduce risk, detect early symptoms, advance care, improve data, and ultimately change the trajectory of this devastating disease.

Headed by the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), it will authorize $20 million annually over the next five years to establish:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Public Health Centers of Excellence dedicated to promoting effective Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving interventions as well as educating the public on Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, and brain health;
  • Cooperative Agreements with the CDC that would be awarded to State Health Departments to help them meet local needs in promoting brain health, reducing risk of cognitive decline, improving care for those with Alzheimer’s, and other key public health activities;
  • Data Grants to improve the analysis and timely reporting of data on Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities at the state and national levels.

Larry Reeves, the long-term care ombudsman with Region A, Southwestern Commission, helped organize Haywood Dementia Response Efforts (HayDRE) said the legislation was discussed at a recent steering committee meeting.

“Sen. Tillis ‘gets it!’” he said. “Based upon his experiences as a caregiver for his grandmother who had dementia, he indicates some understanding of the costs. Personal involvement and connection to dementia makes a difference in the ways one views something as devastating as dementia. Once connected, one feels compelled to do all they possibly can to assist others that are connected.”

The HayDRE Steering Committee concluded the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is a great step in the right direction on a national/international level, it will be necessary for steps to be taken on a local level, Reeves said.

“HayDRE will be one of the local steps to be taken, and should benefit from this act. If we can help folks from Haywood County in responding to the challenges of dementia by offering a way to gather and dispense financial support, we are taking a local step,” he said.

Read the story here.