Dear Friends and Supporters,
One of the most important issues facing Hawaii and the nation in the coming years is how to care for our growing senior population. As the age wave surges, and with everyone concerned about the future of Social Security and Medicare, there’s one disease that is consuming our resources at a staggering pace: Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Consider these statistics: Of Americans aged 65 and over, 1 in 8 has Alzheimer’s. 1 in 2 aged 85 and older have the disease. According to the Hawaii State Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease, 31,000 people in Hawaii today who are 65 years or older have Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease has become the 6th leading cause of death in our country, increasing an astounding 66 percent between 2000 and 2008 while death rates from other killers have actually declined. It’s the only cause of death that can’t be prevented, cured, or even slowed. We’ve invested billions of tax dollars on research for other major diseases and seen great success. By comparison, we’ve spent a paltry $480 million for Alzheimer’s research.
In 2012, the direct costs of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s will total $200 billion, including $140 billion in Medicare and Medicaid. Unless something is done, the costs of Alzheimer’s by 2050 will total $1.1 trillion (in today’s dollars). The physical and emotional toll on caregivers resulted in $8.7 billion in additional health care costs in 2011.
That’s why, if elected, Mufi Hannemann is calling for dramatic increases in federal support for Alzheimer’s disease research and more community-based caregiver support.
The burden of caring for people with Alzheimer’s is falling disproportionately on spouses, usually women, and is accompanied by increased stress, financial concerns, and uncertainty for those caregivers. Meanwhile, an estimated 800,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s live alone and as many as 50 percent of them do not have identifiable caregivers.
Mufi believes we need to invest in home and community-based care. According to an AARP survey, half of Hawaii residents believe they’re likely to provide care to spouses or family members in the near future. As many as 94 percent of seniors want services that allow them to stay at home for long-term care, yet 62 percent are not confident they can afford it. With the median price of nursing home care in Hawaii at $122,000 a year, it’s clear that long-term care is beyond the means of our middle class.
This priority needs an advocate in Congress who can speak to the critical importance of expanded federal involvement in the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s as well as ways to keep down the Medicaid and Medicare costs by investing in more home and community-based care.
Mufi Hannemann will advocate for more research funding and new ideas to ease the burden on caregivers and the healthcare profession. He will also work to support greater investments in home and community-based care such as the Meals on Wheels Program, bathing, respite and chore services being funded through the Older American’s Act.
Also, with 26 million Americans living with diabetes, and 113,000 in Hawaii, diabetes is another major disease that needs a strong advocate. Hawaii’s Asian and Hawaiian populations experience disproportionately high rates of diabetes. Greater emphases on research and cures would help reduce the disease’s impact on the nation’s health care costs.
Mufi has been a staunch advocate for the American Diabetes Association for many years, and he has vowed to support the latest federal legislation proposing to create a commission to evaluate the government’s approaches to diabetes care, deliver recommendations of improvement, integration, and new approaches to handling what many health experts have deemed an epidemic.
The leader that Hawaii chooses to move us forward on August 11th will need to have the ability to hit the ground running to champion healthcare issues like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and caregiving. Mufi Hannemann is the leader we need with the experience to make a difference for us, for our kupuna, and for their caregivers in Washington, D.C.
Please join us in supporting Mufi Hannemann for Congress.
The Team at Hannemann for Congress