Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Testimony: U.S. Senate Aging Committee on Preventing Cognitive Decline

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

NEW YORK, April 04, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Last week, the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing to discuss issues associated with cognitive decline. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) submitted written testimony describing the state of Alzheimer’s disease, its impact on millions of American families, the need for increased federal funding for research and supportive services for caregivers, and the importance of memory screenings and of taking a proactive approach to brain health.

The hearing, “The Arc of Alzheimer’s: From Preventing Cognitive Decline in Americans to Assuring Quality Care for Those Living with the Disease” featured two panels of witnesses – one that included Maria Shriver, journalist and founder of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement – and the other featuring Kristin Yaffe, M.D., from the University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco VA Medical Center; Christopher Callahan, M.D., from Indiana University Center for Aging Research and Regenstrief Institute, Inc.; and family caregiver, Phyllis Gallagher. The witnesses told the Aging Committee that, despite a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, things can be done to enhance quality of life and delay placement in costly institutions. Further, measures such as undergoing periodic memory screenings and paying attention to brain health, may help prevent or delay cognitive decline.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating illness that affects not only those with the disease, but their families, caregivers, and communities,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., president and chief executive officer of AFA. “It is important to educate people and raise awareness. I applaud Chairman Collins (R-Maine), Ranking Member Casey (D-Pa.) and the members of the Senate Special Committee on Aging for holding this hearing and shining a light on Alzheimer’s. Yet, more positive steps are needed to further examine the disease so that we can enhance quality of life and delay costly institutionalization.”

In its written testimony, AFA discussed the increasing incidences of the disease, its costs, and that there is currently no cure of modifying treatment to stop this insidious brain disorder.

AFA also stressed the importance of memory screenings, and being proactive about brain health. Early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can empower and enhance quality of life for the person living with Alzheimer’s and their family caregivers. AFA’s National Memory Screening Program can be a first step in determining if a person is experiencing memory issues. The program provides free, confidential memory screenings in convenient locations in communities across the nation, and an opportunity to learn more about healthy lifestyle choices for successful aging. 

Early detection of memory problems can afford people the opportunity to establish caregiver networks, address financial and legal matters, express end-of-life wishes, and take advantage of caregiving training and support services.

AFA looks forward to working with the Aging Committee and other champions in the Senate on such policies promoting cognitive health and improving the lives of those living with dementia and their family caregivers.

About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA):
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals living with dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national, toll-free helpline (866-232-8484) staffed by licensed social workers, educational conferences and materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, the National Memory Screening Program, and “AFA Partners in Care” dementia care training for healthcare professionals. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn


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