February/March 2017

News from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America
Washington Updates:
Advisory Council Hears Challenges and Barriers to Recruitment for Clinical Trials

The Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care and Services recently held its first meeting of 2017. Materials from the meeting can be accessed here.

The long-term care and supports subcommittee reported on new content added to the Administration for Community Living's (ACL) website, including brain health information and new FAQs that offer guidance on wandering and exit-seeking. The research subcommittee detailed new funding for studies, an Alzheimer's disease research "scorecard," and updates on the Alzheimer's Biomarker Consortium, in which key researchers build consensus on the best ways to standardize and validate biomarker tests for use in clinical practices. The Clinical Services subcommittee announced a new clinician fact sheet on detection of cognitive impairment at the Veterans Health Administration, and Medicare/Medicaid updates.

In addition to updates from the work groups above, experts testified on the challenges associated with recruiting participants for clinical trials.  Among these challenges are the vast number of participants needed, costs and under-representation of minority and under-served populations, including African Americans and Latinos. Strategies to aid in recruitment include brain registries that educate and pre-screen possible trial participants and targeted outreach efforts.  It was also suggested that government agencies, including the Veterans' Administration, do more to promote and recruit for brain registries and clinical trials.

Also discussed was the "Research Summit on Dementia Care," which will be held October 16-17 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md.

The next meeting of the Advisory Council is scheduled for April 17, in Washington, D.C. At that meeting, Advisory Council subcommittees will submit recommendations for 2017 update to the national Alzheimer's plan. 

AFA and Bipartisan Group of Senators Call On Trump Administration to Increase Funding for Alzheimer's Research

In February, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) called upon the Trump Administration to increase fiscal year 2018 (FY'18) federal funding levels to $2 billion to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease. In a letter to President Trump, AFA's President and CEO Charles Fuschillo wrote, "Investment in promising research and caregiving services is the only way to ensure that we, as a nation, can overcome this growing human and fiscal crisis and find a cure by 2025."
Sen. Susan Collins
AFA is not alone in calling for such an increase. Senate Special Committee on Aging chair, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) recently introduced a resolution (S. Res. 49) in the Senate to make the fight against Alzheimer's disease a national priority.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Specifically, S. Res. 49 calls on the Senate to double spending on Alzheimer's disease to $2 billion a year to ensure that the United States is on a pathway to a cure by 2025 as articulated in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. In addition, a group of bipartisan Senators, including Sens. Collins and Klobuchar, along with Sens. Markey (D-Mass.), Moran (R-Kan.), Boozman (R-Ark.), Wicker (R-Miss.), Warner (D-Va.) and Stabenow (D-Mich.), sent a letter to President Trump urging the Administration to make the "wise investment" of increasing federal funding for Alzheimer's research in the FY 2018 budget.
AFA urges all Alzheimer's stakeholders to contact their Senate delegation and urge them to support S. Res. 49. Not sure who to contact? Click here  for more detailed contact information.

New Study and Survey Demonstrate Social Engagement Important to Overall Brain Health

AARP's Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) released a report exploring the effect social engagement on brain health. The report, entitled " The Brain and Social Connectedness: GCBH Recommendations on Social Engagement and Brain Health," discusses numerous aspects of social engagement including digital connections, purpose in life, pets as companions, close personal or romantic relationships, and sense of community.

To complement GCBH's report, AARP surveyed more than 3,800 adults age 40 and older to understand the factors that influence social engagement, isolation and loneliness and how these issues relate to people's brain health and mental well-being as they age.  

Join Us:  AFA's 15th Anniversary 'Educating America' National Tour 
Featuring the AFA Concepts in Care Educational Conference

In 1980, Anne Brodsky was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. At the time, there was little information on the illness and nowhere to turn for guidance and support. Years after she passed away, her son, Bert Brodsky, set out to ensure that families living with Alzheimer's disease did not have to face the illness alone. Brodsky founded the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's (AFA) in 2002--15 years ago--as a resource for individuals with Alzheimer's and related illnesses and their families.

Today, AFA has grown to a network of more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide that are dedicated to providing optimal care and services to the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease and their families. In celebration of its 15th anniversary, AFA is kicking off the "AFA Educating America Tour," a 15-state tour that aims to help educate people about Alzheimer's and the availability of serv ices and programs.

AFA's San Francisco Concepts in Care educational conference
Each tour stop will include AFA's signature "Concepts in Care" Educational Conference for family and professional caregivers, individuals with dementia and the community. 

Attendees will learn from leading dementia and caregiving experts about topics such as clinical trials and research, safeguarding their space, long-term care, and perceptions of aging. The tour will also include community memory screening events and a display of the AFA Quilt to Remember.

"AFA is here to offer caregivers education, strategies and support to help them succeed at every step of their caregiving journey," said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA's president and chief executive officer. "What better way to celebrate our 15th anniversary than to travel the country sharing our resources and bringing awareness of the need for greater caregiver supports, treatments and ultimately, a cure for this devastating illness?"

The tour kicked off February 22, with a packed house, in San Francisco, Calif., and will also visit Las  Vegas, Nev.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; New York City; Philadelphia, Pa.; Franklin, Tenn.; Washington, D.C.; Durham, N.C.; Melville, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Boston, Mass. Click here for the full schedule, more information and to register.

News to Use
Care Connection Webinar: The Human-Animal Bond

It's no secret that animals can bring so many rich and wonderful benefits to our lives. Join us March 9, from 1-2 p.m. ET.  for Care Connection, our free monthly educational webinar. 

This month, guest speaker Rachel Herman, founder and executive director of Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) New York, will explore the human-animal bond in the context of dementia care.  Click here for more information or to register. 
West Palm Beach Healthcare
Come Learn  With Us
On March 28, AFA will bring its "AFA Partners in Care: Supporting Individuals Living With Dementia" dementia care training for healthcare professionals to West Palm Beach.

This training will provide an overview of dementia and help attendees build a solid foundation of skills rooted in best dementia care practices. Topics include building relationships, understanding behaviors as a form of communication, professional self-care and much more. Six (6) continuing education contact hours are available for social workers.

For more information or to register, click here

March is Social Work Month:
Enhance Your Skills With AFA

In  celebration of social work month, AFA is offering social workers a special discount on the "AFA Patners In Care: Supporting Individuals Living With Dementia" professional training DVD. 

This comprehensive, six hour DVD provides learn-at-your-own-pace instruction on best practices in dementia care. 

Social workers who complete the DVD training and pass the associated exam are eligible to receive six (6) continuing education contact hours.

Call 866-232-8484 to take advantage of this limited time offer.

Have a Question?
AFA's national toll-free helpline is here for you! Staffed by licensed social workers, the helpline is open Monday through Friday, from 
9 a.m.-9 p.m. ET, and Saturdays, from 
9 a.m.-1 p.m. ET.

Call 866-232-8484.