By Gina Roberts-Grey
NeurologyNow, June, July Issue 2016
Maria Shriver started talking about Alzheimer’s disease after her father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed. Ten years later, she’s still talking and people are beginning to pay attention.
In 2003 she began asking questions, getting answers, and sharing that information with others. Within a year of her father’s diagnosis, she was bringing those skills to bear on Alzheimer’s disease.
The more she learned, the more she realized she wanted to start a national conversation, one she hoped would translate into more support for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.
She started this trend by:
Raising Awareness and Funds
Detecting A Pattern
A Call To Women
The Female Connection
How to Help
There’s much to be done to address the Alzheimer’s epidemic, says Shriver. She offers some suggestions for the federal government in The Shriver Report, including providing an eldercare tax credit, eldercare leave, elder day care programs staffed by professionals trained in dealing with the disease, intergenerational day care centers, quality control of nursing homes and end-of-life facilities----and promoting eldercare savings programs to set aside money for future health care costs.
The government is responding to advocates like Shriver. The Alzheimer’s Association hopes Congress will increase Alzheimer’s-related funding by $400 million in 2017. And the proposed 2016 federal budget allocated an additional $350 million for Alzheimer’s disease research, a 60 percent boost that will bring total funding to $936 million.