We are thankful for the modern advances in medicine, but with our many innovative health care improvements in the 21st century comes an aging population.
The United States Census Bureau reports there are approximately 1,034,320 seniors who are 65 and older. Even though our older population does its best to live heather lifestyles, the Tennessee Alzheimer's Association statistics indicate there are over 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's and those figures could rise to 13.8 million by 2050. Just in Tennessee alone, there are over 110,000 who are affected by Alzheimer's. These numbers are staggering.
We believe with this dreadful disease attacking our older adults, as well as taking the life of Tennessee basketball legend Pat Summitt, it is time for our Tennessee legislator's to be like Coach Summit and raise it's game for Alzheimer's and dementia.
With this disease touching the lives of so many, we encourage our legislator's to spend additional time this session reading and researching the cognitive challenges our older population face. We are grateful for the continued legislative financial support our vulnerable Tennessee seniors receive every year.
This bill will create the state Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia Council and to assess the current and future impact on Tennessee residents. The members will examine industries, services and resources addressing the needs of those affected by Alzheimer's and dementia.
The Council will develop a plan that identifies barriers to Alzheimer's care, analyze utilization data and make recommendations to the legislature. The recommendations are due by January 20, 2020 and will include metrics, best practices and gaps in service. By establishing this Council, Tennessee will show the rest of the country that it is being prudent with its resources and planning ahead for our aging population.
Those of us who have family and friends that have experienced the challenges of Alzheimer’s, realize it affects the whole family, as well as caregivers. The financial toll and mental hardships placed on families can be devastating.
With the game on the line, Coach Summit always found a way to win. We are confident Coach Summit would be proud of our Tennessee legislator's for finding a way to support this legislation and help our older Tennessean's who are struggling with Alzheimer's and dementia.