The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) addressed the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on December 8, 2010, regarding the care of Alzheimer's patients. The forum, titled "Until There's a Cure: How to Help Alzheimer's Patients Now," discussed recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and stressed the importance of adequate and targeted care.
Presently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, making appropriate care settings, such as assisted living facilities, all the more important for memory-impaired patients. Richard Grimes, President and CEO of ALFA, pointed out to the committee that assisted living facilities are both a cost-effective (at about half the cost of nursing home care) and practical solution for Alzheimer's patients.
Loren Shook, President and CEO of Silverado Assisted Living and Vice Chair of ALFA, says assisted living facilities can meet both the medical and psycho-social needs of Alzheimer's patients, providing a home-like atmosphere with individualized treatment plans.
While Congress is currently paying much attention to this issue, Grimes points out that the senior living industry requires the long-term support of the government in its efforts to move away from a "one-size-fits-all" long-term care model to resident-centered model that provides choice and focuses on maintaining quality of life.
Grimes notes two current pieces of legislation: The National Silver Alert Act would serve as a notification system (similar to the Amber Alert) for seniors living with Alzheimer's disease who are prone to wandering. Another piece of bi-partisan legislation would create the first government office focused on leading efforts in treating and preventing Alzheimer's disease.
Continued federal support would enable the long-term care industry to continue evolving the current delivery models to adequately meet the needs of seniors and their families who are living with Alzheimer's disease until a cure is found.
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