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11/26/2013

Governor Corbett Visits Long-Term Care Facility, Highlights Need for Alzheimer’s Disease State Plan

News for Immediate Release

Nov. 26, 2013

 

Governor Corbett Visits Long-Term Care Facility, Highlights Need for Alzheimer’s Disease State Plan

 

Harrisburg – During a visit to a long-term living facility today, Governor Tom Corbett recognized Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and thanked members of the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee for their efforts to create a state plan to address the disease.

 

Corbett toured Phoebe Ministries Allentown, a 400-bed long-term living facility, and Phoebe Center of Excellence in Dementia Care. He was joined by Dr. Kelly O’Shea Carney, executive director for the Phoebe Center for Excellence in Dementia Care, and Secretary of Aging Brian Duke, chair of the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee.

 

“As our senior population grows, so does the number of our citizens living with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Corbett. “Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month offers an opportunity to learn more about this disease and how it touches the lives of so many Pennsylvanians.”

 

Corbett proclaimed November as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. It has been recognized nationally each year since 1983 as a time to bring special attention to those living with the disease, as well as their families and caregivers.

 

“An estimated 280,000 Pennsylvanians are living with Alzheimer’s and an additional 120,000 of our citizens have related dementias,” said Corbett. “Those figures confront us with a crisis, but also an opportunity to rise above the problem and together look for ways to effectively respond to it.”

 

Pennsylvania’s aging population ranks as the fourth grayest state in the nation.  The U.S. Census predicts that by 2015, one in four Pennsylvanians will be 60 years of age and older. 

 

Corbett created the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee by Executive Order earlier this year. The committee will develop a comprehensive state plan with recommendations to address the disease in Pennsylvania, which will be presented to the governor in February 2014.

 

“It is imperative that Pennsylvania has a responsive Alzheimer’s State Plan that will provide guidance for families of loved ones with the disease, as well as healthcare providers and organizations,” Corbett said. “I thank the committee for its work thus far and look forward to the final plan early next year, culminating after months of discussion, deliberation and input from the public.”

 

“It is an honor and a pleasure to serve on the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee,” said Carney. “I thank Governor Corbett for taking time to visit our facility and for the opportunity to help shape an Alzheimer’s state plan that will best suit Pennsylvania.”

 

Phoebe Ministries has received the Excellence in Care Status of Distinction from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the first facility in Pennsylvania to receive such an honor.

 

Also attending the event were representatives from the Azheimer’s Disease Planning Commission, local Area Agencies on Aging, United Way of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania Council on Aging and the AARP of Pennsylvania.

 

Senator Bob Mensch (R-Lehigh), Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), Representative Hal English (R-Allegheny), Representative Ryan Mackensie (R-Berks), Representative Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) and Representative Steve Samuelson (D-Lehigh) were also in attendance at today’s event.

 

Corbett urges all Pennsylvanians to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease during this month of awareness.

 

To find out more about the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee and Alzheimer’s disease, visit www.aging.state.pa.us.

 

Media contact:

Christine Cronkright, Governor’s Office, 717-783-1116

Christina Reese, Aging, 717-783-1550

 

Editor’s Note: The text of the governor’s proclamation follows:

PROCLAMATION

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH

November 2013

WHEREAS, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, causing deterioration in memory and thought as well as judgment and reasoning ability; with potentially devastating effects on behavior, emotions and the ability to care for oneself; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania ranks 4th in the United States for highest population of people over the age of 65; with 400,000 of its older adults currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias; and

WHEREAS, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in citizens age 65 and older; with a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder such as dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Parkinson’s disease, amytrophic lateral sclerosis and mixed dementia occurring every 69 seconds in the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, the National Institute on Aging estimates that the total cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost $203 billion in 2013, and will increase to $1.2 trillion by midcentury; and

WHEREAS, neither Medicare nor most private health insurers to date cover the long-term care services and support people with dementia need, nor the intervention of new medical technologies to arrest its progression; and

WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee is committed to formulating a comprehensive strategy to address the endemic Alzheimer’s disease crisis in the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognizes individuals, families, friends and caregivers in the path of the affliction while heralding the scientists and physicians, medical professionals and dedicated institutes seeking the treatment and cure of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

THEREFORE, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH in Pennsylvania and encourage all citizens to acknowledge the importance and urgency of the challenge before us.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, on this twenty-third day of October in the Year of our Lord two thousand and thirteen, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

Tom Corbett

Governor

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