Menendez Shares his Mom’s Story, Renews Commitment to Fight for Americans Affected by Alzheimer’s

Menendez Shares his Mom’s Story, Renews Commitment to Fight for Americans Affected by Alzheimer’s

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, today spoke of his mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and renewed his commitment to fight for all Americans affected by the disease during a hearing in the Finance Committee Subcommittee on Health. In 2019, an estimated of 180,000 New Jerseyans over 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. Nationally, that number is over five million.

 “Alzheimer’s disease not only presents our nation with an enormous challenge but also takes a tremendous toll on every family forced to confront it. I know this at a deeply personal level, as my mother suffered with Alzheimer’s for eighteen years before it claimed her life,” said Sen. Menendez. “During the early years of her diagnosis, there were many days my mom seemed just fine. But year after year, those good days became fewer and far between. It was a long and heartbreaking goodbye to the strongest woman I’ve ever known.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the cost of taking care of patients with the disease is $290 billion nationally; $2 billion in New Jersey alone. This number is only expected to increase as more Americans age and are faced with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Sen. Menendez is firmly committed to ensuring investments are made today to improve the lives of Alzheimer’s patients and their families going forward.

“Whether it’s investing in life-saving medical research, or protecting the rights of patients diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s, or defending the Medicaid coverage relied on by one-in-four seniors with dementia, I believe we must pursue every strategy we can to improve the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s and help their families cope with the demands of their care,” the Senator added.

Over the years, Sen. Menendez has sponsored multiple pieces of legislation to support patients with Alzheimer’s and their families including the Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to get to an End (CHANGE) Act of 2019 that would expand the existing Welcome to Medicare initial exam and Medicare annual wellness visits to screen, detect, and diagnose Alzheimer's and related dementias in their earliest stages; and the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act of 2019 that would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct outreach to health care practitioners about comprehensive Alzheimer's disease care planning services, including education initiatives, and materials on appropriate diagnostic evaluations and explanations of the requirements for eligibility.