Maine Woman Testifies at Senate Alzheimer’s Hearing
According to some estimates it’s the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and, if current trends continue, Alzheimer’s disease could effect as many as 16 million Americans by the year 2050.
During a hearing before the U.S. Senate Aging Committee on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who chairs the committee, said Alzheimer’s is the nation’s costliest disease, with the U.S. spending more than $236 billion on it per year.
The hearing was called to explore how much progress has been made in combating Alzheimer’s since the enactment, in 2011, of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, co-authored by Collins.
Among those testifying was Polly Bradley, director of adult day services at the Southern Maine Agency on Aging in Scarborough. Bradley says that since 2012, her agency has developed two state-of-the-art adult day centers and shifted to a person-centered medical model designed to be affordable.
“Family caregivers tell us that their loved ones are happier,” she says. “They come home from the centers wanting to talk about their day. They refer to our centers as their club, which makes them eager to return. Our program extends to the caregivers because we know that it can be a lonely and depressing journey for all of them.”
Bradley says that, on a more personal note, she was blessed to have spent the last ten years caring for her father, who had frontal lobe dementia and died in December.