It is no secret that 2020 was a difficult year for everyone. For individuals with Alzheimer’s and their families, the level of difficulty was that much more intensified. For those in congregate settings like nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak was and continues to be an ever-present danger. Family members and caregivers were more physically disconnected from their loved ones than ever before.
Yet, among the difficulties that 2020 presented, it departed leaving those in the Alzheimer’s community a shining light at the end of the tunnel. In the final fiscal year 2021 budget enacted into law, Congress included an additional $300 million for Alzheimer’s and dementia research at the National Institutes of Health. This brought the annual total for Alzheimer’s research to a historic $3.1 billion. Also in this budget was $10 million public health investment for Alzheimer’s.
Congress also enacted legislation like the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Act (enacted within other legislation), and the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act in 2020. These laws will in one way or another help people with the Alzheimer’s and their family members to better navigate their journey with this disease.
I hope the new administration and Congress, including my Rep. Mike Garcia, will continue to prioritize funding and legislation for this terrible disease.