Tuesday, April 15, 2008

First-Ever Alzheimer's Rally Set for Sacramento - Over 1,400 Californians Headed for Capitol Steps



10 Million Baby Boomers will get Alzheimer's - 1 Million in California

Journalists are invited to cover this largest such Alzheimer’s event, both locally – at points around California for scheduled departure points, and at the State Capitol. Rally Participants (currently 1,415 registered) will include: People with Alzheimer’s, family members, friends and neighbors, caregivers, health care professionals and science researchers. Alzheimer’s Rally on the Capitol Steps (North Side, L Street), Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 12:30pm to 2:00pm (11:30am attendees check-in).

Around California – Wednesday morning, April 16, Californians will be gathering, to fly and to take buses.

To cover the story from these perspectives, including interviews with participants, please see the list of Media Contacts for the Alzheimer’s Association throughout California.

Rally Program – Includes:

* The Face of Alzheimer’s by two Persons with Alzheimer’s;
* Alzheimer’s philanthropist Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns;
* Family Caregivers (including a 14-year-old helping care for her father with Alzheimer’s); legislators on Alzheimer’s;
* Actress/singer/director and long-time Alzheimer’s Champion Lea Thompson;
* Advocates – from throughout the Alzheimer’s journey, coming from throughout California.

12:15 Group Photo of California Legislators on the Capitol Steps, surrounding by Alzheimer’s Advocates (all California Assemblypersons and Senators invited). Group Photo to be made available immediately following the Rally.

12:30 – 2:00 pm Rally Program

Media Bull Pen – Available to assist all attending journalists. This area will be clearly marked as “News Media” near the stage/Capitol Steps.

Miss California 2007, Melissa Chaty, will be among those available for interviews. Appearing on the Rally Program, she is a long-time Alzheimer’s volunteer and has made “Alzheimer’s Advocacy and Awareness” her platform, in honor of her grandfather. Photo available: Media Contact Brad Makaiau.

Available materials will include the new two-page “Preliminary Findings: 2008 California Data Report on Alzheimer’s Disease” which includes these highlights:

* Alzheimer’s in California will double within the next generation.
* Every year over 11,000 Californians will develop the disease.
* One in eight California Baby Boomers will have Alzheimer disease.
* Chart: Summary of Alzheimer’s by Race/Ethnicity Percentage Increase from 2008-2030. Alzheimer’s does not discriminate. Every ethnic group will have a significant increase.
* Chart of Every California County: Number and Percentage Increase in People 55+ with Alzheimer’s, for 2008 and 2030, noting the % increase by county. Most counties will see at least a doubling in Alzheimer’s disease.
* Chart: Estimated Per Person Medi-Cal Costs in California (2007)
* The complete County-by-County 2008 California Data Report on Alzheimer’s Disease – publishing in June 2008 – is being prepared by the Institute for Health & Aging, University of California, San Francisco. The Report is being made possible by a grant from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation.

To receive a fax or e-mail copy of the Preliminary Report, see the Media Contacts list provided below.

Media Contacts – Alzheimer’s Association, California:

Jill Center, Northern California, 650-962-8111; Cell: 415-730-5958, Jill.Center@alz.org

California Southland (Los Angeles, Riverside & San Bernardino Counties):

Barbara Goen, 323-930-6265; Cell: 213-910-1949, Barbara.Goen@alz.org,

or Akila Gibbs, 323-930-6255; cell: 323-646-6834, Akila.Gibbs@alz.org

Jim McAleer, Orange County, 949-955-9000, Jim.McAleer@alz.org

Brad Makaiau, San Diego/Imperial Co, 858-492-4400; Cell: 619-865-7556, Brad.Makaiau@alz.org

Catherine Remak, Santa Barbara/Central Coast, 805-892-4259, Cremak@centralcoastalz.org

From March 13, 2008 Announcement of Rally by the Alzheimer’s Association:

As the Alzheimer’s epidemic continues upward, wreaking havoc for increasing numbers of California families, the Alzheimer’s Association projects that the state’s already overwhelmed care and research infrastructure will shrink – and in some cases disappear – if Sacramento lawmakers complete proposed mid-year budget cuts. To shine a spotlight on what has been described as “the public health crisis of the 21st Century,” the five California chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association, and its Sacramento-based California Council, today announced that volunteers and staff are organizing over 1,000 individuals from throughout California to turn up in Sacramento for a first-ever Alzheimer’s Rally on the Capitol Steps (North Side, L Street), Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 12:30pm to 2:00pm (11:30am attendees check-in).

Alarmed that California is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to one of the top fears among Baby Boomers and the aging American population, Alzheimer’s Association Advocates from every part of the state will stand on the steps of the state capitol and tell their elected representatives – some of whom are expected to attend – that when it comes to Alzheimer’s: “The present is catastrophic and California’s totally unprepared for what’s coming.” Coming to Sacramento, by plane, train, bus and automobile, in a pure exercise of representative democracy, they’ll ask their public servants, when it comes to Alzheimer’s and related dementias: “What’s your plan?”

Among those also expected to participate are representatives from the California Alzheimer’s infrastructure that is now at risk, including: Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Centers, Adult Day Health Care, Caregiver Resource Centers, In-Home Supportive Services, physicians and other Home Health Community Providers, and those representing Medi-Cal Optional Benefits.

California’s Alzheimer’s Research Centers (ARCCs) are now also facing cuts that would: slow current research, delay better diagnosis, treatment and management strategies for Alzheimer’s, and impact dementia care in other health settings. The ten California ARCCs are at: UCSF, UCSF at Fresno, UC Davis, UC Davis at Martinez, Stanford, UCLA, USC, USC Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center, UC Irvine and UC San Diego.

William Fisher, Alzheimer’s Association CEO for Northern California, said there currently are over 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s or a related disorder – 500,000 here in California. If no cure is found, those numbers could triple by mid-century, to 16 million Americans. Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s can be expected to bankrupt the health care system. Already, annual National costs of care (direct and indirect) for individuals with Alzheimer’s are at least $100 billion; current costs to American businesses are $61 billion. One out of every eight people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s and nearly one out of every two over age 85 has it. Alzheimer’s is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

According to Peter Braun, President and CEO of the California Southland Chapter, seven out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s live at home, where family and friends provide almost 75% of their care. However, crucial at-home care will decline as an option if the State continues to pull back on what little infrastructure there currently is to support families, by: under-funding community providers, forcing the closure of adult day health care programs, and reducing access to physicians. Fisher said that in addition to the immediate pull-backs in the State’s community support apparatus – limited though it already is for the exploding Alzheimer’s population – one of the most significant demands of Alzheimer’s caregivers and others throughout the state is the failure to plan ahead. “California must create a strategic planning process in order to be ready for the Alzheimer’s epidemic.” He said, “To not be ready for a public health crisis that we already know is forming would be unconscionable.”

Braun succinctly summarized the situation this way: “Alzheimer’s is surging forward, and, at this moment, California is falling backward.”

Loretta Redd, Alzheimer’s Association Executive Director for Santa Barbara and the Central Coast, said, “These cuts are a blow to a fragile network of services families use to help them keep their Alzheimer’s patient at home, for perhaps years, rather than placed in far more costly institutions.”

Jim McAleer, Alzheimer’s Association Executive Director for Orange County, said that if California were to travel down this path, “The message from the California State Legislature, to all Californians – because every Californian is vulnerable to Alzheimer’s – would be: ‘If you’re struck by Alzheimer’s, you and your family are on your own.’” In fact, McAleer said, “These proposed cuts from the developing state budget situation sabotage smart, cost-saving mechanisms, such as aging-in-place and community-based care.” Ultimately, he said they do not help save California’s budget situation, and, “as an assault on family caregivers, they are unacceptable.”

Lisa Bruner, Interim CEO for the Alzheimer’s Association in San Diego County, said the message Alzheimer’s families and other Advocates will carry to legislators is personal as well as public: “If you do not think you know a person with Alzheimer’s, you certainly will.” She said, “Now is the time to address this escalating epidemic.”

NOTE to Journalists: The Alzheimer’s Association can assist you in developing local-to-capital “Ms .and Mr. Smith Go to Sacramento” stories. Photography from the Alzheimer’s Association will be available from the April 16 Rally.



Alzheimer's Association, California:
Jill Center, Northern California, 650-962-8111
Cell: 415-730-5958
Jill.Center@alz.org
California Southland (Los Angeles, Riverside &
San Bernardino Counties):
Barbara Goen, 323-930-6265
Cell: 213-910-1949
Barbara.Goen@alz.org
Akila Gibbs, 323-930-6255
cell: 323-646-6834
Akila.Gibbs@alz.org
or
Jim McAleer, Orange County, 949-955-9000
Jim.McAleer@alz.org
Brad Makaiau, San Diego/Imperial Co, 858-492-4400
Cell: 619-865-7556
Brad.Makaiau@alz.org
Catherine Remak, Santa Barbara/Central Coast,
805-892-4259
Cremak@centralcoastalz.org