New legislation designates June as Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month
State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 244, bipartisan legislation to designate June as “Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month” in Ohio. The Jefferson lawmaker hopes the legislative proposal will help raise awareness and recognize Ohioans who struggle with the neurological disease or other forms of dementia.
“Through this legislation, I believe we can further educate the public and support the dedicated caregivers who work each day to take care of those in need because of this disease,” said Patterson. “Thousands of Ohioans are affected by neurological diseases in one way or another—whether they themselves suffer from a disease or they have a loved one who suffers. It is important that we do all we can to raise awareness as a state so that we may one day find a cure.”
Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, slowly and irreversible destroys many critical brain functions, eventually prohibiting one from performing the most basic activities of daily living. Affecting more than five million Americans, Alzheimer’s disease kills more individuals than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. By 2050, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s could rise to as high as 16 million. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death without a known treatment, prevention method or cure.
In Ohio, more than 597,000 people are involved in the care of 210,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease. In 2016, the total hours of unpaid care given by those caregivers in Ohio totaled more than 680,000,000 hours at a total value of unpaid care estimated at nearly $9 billion.
“Due to the stigma that still surrounds a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, awareness events like Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month shed light on how important it is to seek a formal diagnosis and advanced care planning,” said Nancy Udelson, Co-Chair of the Ohio Council of the Alzheimer’s Association and President & CEO of the Cleveland Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
HB 244 is currently awaiting assignment to a House committee for consideration.