Increasing awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease

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The last few years have been exciting in terms of the research and treatment landscape for Alzheimer’s Disease. Encouraging new compounds are being developed and approved to slow the disease’s progression. This is incredible, life-changing news, providing hope that just a few years ago, we could only imagine. At the same time, this condition is affecting more people than ever – a true epidemic – and the number of those affected, those with the disease and their caregivers, will continue to increase. November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. This month and throughout the year, while excited about research developments, we must continue to address the complexity of the condition today and keep the utmost attention on providing support to those with Alzheimer’s Disease and their caregivers.

Research and support for those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease is deeply personal to both of us, as caregivers for family members with Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s heartbreaking to witness how one’s quality of life can deteriorate very quickly, and as a result, we clearly understand the importance of support for those affected. We were proud to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s® and recently, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield participated in a panel discussion entitled, “Helping People with Alzheimer’s and Their Families” at the Indiana Life Sciences BioCrossroads Summit.

One major issue addressed on the panel was the need for increased public awareness and understanding of the condition. Getting connected to the right programs, resources, and supports is the most important factor related to health outcomes for those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, to maximize quality of life and independence.

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. In Indiana alone, 110,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s and 11% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline. Nearly 217,000 Hoosier family caregivers share the burden of the disease.

There has never been a more important time, or more feasible opportunity, to step up and fight this disease. We are both very proud to work for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, as they have given us a platform to speak on important issues like Alzheimer’s Disease, while stepping up to help end the disease by forming teams and raising funds. We invite all of you to join us. Every dollar raised benefits the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association®, in our community and beyond. Amazing progress is being made, and if we all come together, we can help find a cure for this devastating disease that is impacting far too many.

Dr. Kimberly Roop is Medicaid President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana and Beth Keyser is Commercial President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana.