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Susan Collins’ Bill Would Support Home Caregivers

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has introduced a bill designed to relieve some of the burdens faced by those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Collins says that as the elder population of the U.S. burgeons, more families will face dementia and the considerable costs that come with it.

“Last year caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s shouldered $10.2 billion in health care costs related to the physical and emotional effects of caregiving,” she says.

Collins says caregivers often suffer from job and financial stress, depression and their own health issues while trying to care for a needy spouse or parent. The bill, she says, aims to expand training and support programs for caregivers so that more dementia patients can stay at home longer.

“It would help us do more to care for our caregivers,” she says.

Collins says 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Maine, often cited as the oldest state in the union, has more than 37,000 people living with Alzheimer’s. Those figures are expected to grow rapidly as Baby Boomers enter their elder years.