SAN ANTONIO – More than 6.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and the local Alzheimer’s Association says there are an estimated 400,000 Texans living with the disease, with more than 1 million family members and friends caring for them.
Greg Sciuto, the leader and executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association’s San Antonio & South Texas chapter, joined Leading SA to talk about Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month in June.
“Texas is the state with the fourth highest total of people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, based on our population and based on our makeup. And so this disease disproportionately affects Texans at a rate higher than most states,” Sciuto said.
In this legislative cycle, lawmakers answered the call.
“This year, with help from our advocates at the association and our partner organizations, the Texas Legislature approved $5.5 million in funding for the Alzheimer’s disease program in the state of Texas,” he said.
That is a 550% increase in funding that will provide information and resources on care and support options, and early detection.
He said $5.5 million is a step in the right direction toward catching up to other states.
“I mean, it still puts us a little bit behind states like Florida, which invest $44 million annually and Georgia, which invested $8.3 million annually, but a huge step forward for Texans that are living with this disease,” Sciuto said.
And there have been big medical advancements to fight the disease in just the last few years.
“Today, I’m proud to say there are two FDA-approved treatments that track the underlying biology of this disease, with a third in the pipeline, which is showing the most promising results to date,” he said. “And now our focus really needs to be on making sure that folks that could benefit from these drugs have access to these drugs.”
As for the local chapter, the goal is to help as many families as possible.
“Our mission is to help all affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia in our community. And I’m proud to say that over the past four years, we have doubled our impact in the community,” Sciuto said.
You can find more information here: https://www.alz.org/sanantonio.