Over the years, it has not been difficult to be critical of New York’s lack of support of seniors. The State has moved towards making it more difficult to become eligible for Medicaid for those who are in need, there’s been radical cuts in staff for agencies such as Office for the Aging, and we are the only state in the Union without mandatory reporting of elder abuse. As an Elder Law attorney and columnist, I, admittedly, have not shied away from such criticisms myself. But now, our State has finally placed itself in a position to redeem itself in the eyes of all its seniors and its prior critics such as myself.
So what is this miracle for the year 2016 that can make all New York seniors happy? There is now a bill pending in the New York Legislature which just might make this happen. This proposal calls for the issuance of a Billion Dollar Bond aimed at the blight of Alzheimer’s Disease.
This is a bold and powerful move by our State. If we live on this planet, Alzheimer’s Disease can affect any one of us. It does not discriminate among races, religions or sexual preference. Even though it is generally associated with seniors, it has now been shown to afflict the young as well. Not only does Alzheimer’s rob you of your memory and everyday mental abilities, it can kill your relationships with those you love and ultimately it causes death. The toll it takes on family members and other caregivers is incalculable. Yet there is no cure, no vaccine, and not even an effective method of slowing the inevitable march of this plague.
What does it mean in terms of fighting this terrible disease to have a major investment of funds right here in our State? As we look at the current battle against Alzheimer’s Disease, simply put, progress is painfully slow. There is a myriad of announcements of promising developments that bombard us almost daily. But you can not cure disease with promises. One of the main roadblocks to progress is fragmentation of research throughout the globe. There are hundreds of groups working towards effective treatment or prevention often competing to reach the goal before the others and, frankly, competing for funding. What the proposed Billion Dollar Bond can do is focus the necessary research here in New York State – enabling cooperation, information and goal sharing and, perhaps, moving forward at a pace never before seen.
Is this plan of attack worth the funds that are being proposed? Let’s compare. Care for Alzheimer’s is currently far more expensive than the care for heart disease and cancer. Alzheimer’s care costs over $200 billion dollars annually or two hundred times the proposed bond. By the year 2050, care is expected to top one trillion dollars here in our country alone. This bond will provide jobs here in New York, serve as a financial benefit overall and more importantly, may find a cure which has eluded researches for decades.
So we need to move on this now, this year, because this is the year that it will be voted on and other causes are vying for the fund. First it must pass the two houses of our Legislature and be signed by the Governor. This all has to be done in time for the bond issue to be placed on the ballot for this year for a vote in the general election in November. We can not wait until the last minute. So please contact your two state legislators and even the Governor and let them know you want them to support the Billion Dollar Bond for Alzheimer’s research. The Bill number in the Assembly is A1475-A and in the Senate it is S5237-A. Use your social media and pass this on to any groups or organizations and ask for their support as well. Winning this vote is the first step in conquering Alzheimer’s Disease. The lives of you, your family, and your friends may depend on this and we can do it right here in New York.
Sanford R. Altman, Retired, was a Senior Counsel member of J&G. For more information contact us by phone at 845-778-2121 toll free or 845-778-2121.