GOVERNOR CHRISTIE CREATES ALZHEIMER’S STUDY COMMISSION

by: Begley Law Group

On Thursday, June 23, 2011, Governor Chris Christie signed the bill to Establish a New Jersey Alzheimer’s Disease Study Commission (S125/A322).

Initially introduced in June 2009, the bill creates a fifteen person commission  that will review all aspects of the Alzheimer crisis and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on how to develop integrated and responsive community-based services, and ease the burden of the disease on persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their family members and caregivers through expanded support.

This legislation is the first step in creating a comprehensive state plan to address the burgeoning numbers of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.   The New Jersey Alzheimer’s Disease Study Commission can ensure the infrastructure and accountability necessary to build dementia-capable programs and services across multiple cabinet-level agencies that currently serve our citizens in community or residential settings. It will bring key stakeholders around a single table, assuring best current practices of care while potentially eliminating or reducing overlapping programs or outreach. Studying the current issues in the State associated with Alzheimer’s disease will help raise awareness about one of this country’s most significant health epidemics. Once formed, the commission will  gather and disseminate data and information relative to the care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease in order to provide health care professionals and governmental policymakers with accurate data about the disease and its impact on these persons and their family members and caregivers.

South Jersey legislators demonstrated outstanding support in passing this legislation. Their unanimous passage of the bill showed their awareness of the critical need for our state officials to become aware of the impact that Alzheimer’s has on our New Jersey residents and the state’s economy. On behalf of the 85,000 persons affected with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders living in South Jersey, we would like to thank them for working with Alzheimer advocates across New Jersey to help our fellow New Jerseyans to live in a world without Alzheimer’s.

CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO WORKED SO TIRELESSLY TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION.

DAY ON THE HILL YIELDS RESULTS

Fifteen southern New Jersey advocates visited the Washington D.C. congressional offices of their Senators and Representatives on May 17 at the conclusion of the Alzheimer Association’s Public Policy Forum. At each stop, they shared heartbreaking stories of the personal impact Alzheimer’s disease makes on them. They asked elected officials to support legislation to provide funding for research (HR 1897 Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act) and to create early detection and treatment strategies (S738/H.R. 1386 Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act). In addition, they asked for help in obtaining swift implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act.

Much to their delight, legislators or their aides extended promises of support. A notable example was when Senator Robert Menendez personally pledged his continued support in memory of his mother who recently succumbed to the disease.

Since those visits, the legislators held true to their promises. Senators Lautenberg and Menendez have co-sponsored the HOPE Act. Freshman Congressman Jon Runyan, former Board Member of the Delaware Valley Chapter, showed that he continues to be a true Alzheimer Champion by co-sponsoring both pieces of legislation. Our other South Jersey officials are expected to get on board as well.

These outstanding results highlight the value of combining our voices to move our cause forward. Kudos to the advocates who so eloquently articulated the need for federal support of Alzheimer’s issues.

SAVE THE DATE: NAPA INPUT SESSION-AUGUST 23, 2011

The Alzheimer’s Association has initiated efforts to implement the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. We need a concerted nationwide effort to help us move from ACT to ACTION and make the National Alzheimer’s Plan a reality. A series of National Alzheimer’s Project Act Input Sessions are being held throughout the country. The South Jersey Advocacy Committee will be holding a session on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Stratford NJ from 6-8 p.m.

A panel of persons affected by the disease, Alzheimer’s educators and elected officials will share their insights, but most importantly, you will have the opportunity to inform government officials about issues that affect you and your loved ones. This session will help us quantify our efforts and show the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Obama Administration and Congress that there is a nationwide movement supporting NAPA.

More details will follow. Mark your calendars and plan to join us. Now is the time to act and make our voice heard in this important planning process. Your help in us achieving this goal is critical to our success.

ATLANTIC CITY WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S SET FOR OCTOBER 23

A new name! A new experience! Renewed dedication!  Join us for the first-ever Atlantic City Walk to End Alzheimer’s on October 23rdThe End of Alzheimer’s Starts with YOU! Start your team now by going to www.alz.org/desjsepa.

ADVOCATES NEEDED-CAN YOU HELP RECRUIT THEM?

Our advocacy efforts are paying off, but so much more work needs to be done. We need more advocates to help make Alzheimer’s a priority in the minds of legislators. Can you help? Please recruit your family, friends, and neighbors, anyone who has a desire to help achieve our vision to live in a world without Alzheimer’s. Signing them up is easy. Go to www.alz.org/desjsepa and click Advocate. You will be moving us closer to our vision to live in a world without Alzheimer’s.

For more information, please contact Linda Coppinger, Executive Director South Jersey at linda.coppinger@alz.org or call our 24/7 Helpline at 1.800.272.3900.