Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins announced that the Senate unanimously passed the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s disease Act today today as part of the Supporting Older Americans Act. The legislation, introduced last year by the Republican Senator from Maine, with Sens. Collins, Bob Casey (D-PA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Doug Jones (D-AL). The bill would ensure the availability of certain programs and services for those with Alzheimer’s by allowing patients younger than age 60 to access them. The bill has now been sent to the House for its consideration. Once passed it will be sent to the president to be signed into law.
Early Onset Alzheimer’s Photo Credit: National Institute on Aging“The progression of Alzheimer’s disease is devastating, regardless of whether someone is older than 60 or younger than 60 when he or she is diagnosed,” said Sen. Collins, a founder and co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease. “Since Alzheimer’s is not restricted by age, neither should the programs designed to assist these Americans and their families. I am pleased that the Senate passed our bipartisan legislation to provide access to these critical services to patients younger than 60, which would ensure that all Americans with Alzheimer’s have access to the care, support and resources they need,” she said.
Alzheimer Afflicts People Age 60 and Younger
The majority of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, and access to available programs and services for this disease often reflect that threshold. Due to their age, younger-onset patients can face additional barriers to access the services they need to cope with their disease.
According to Sen. Collins, The Younger Onset Alzheimer’s disease Act would amend the Older Americans Act to ensure that certain programs that already serve individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias can continue their program supports for those who have not attained 60 years of age. In particular, this legislation would allow the National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program to serve this unique population. This bill addresses a key recommendation by the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s disease, which called for additional services to be provided to younger adults with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.