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As part of an effort to develop a national plan to address Alzheimer’s disease, Brandywine Assisted Living in Little Neck will host a meeting Aug. 18 to solicit input from the stakeholders in the Alzheimer’s community.

Brandywine has a 24-bed capacity dementia unit, at 55-15 Little Neck Pkwy., with 24-hour nurses on duty for patients with a variety of memory-declining issues.

The New York City and Long Island chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association will ask those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers as well as representatives from the state and local governments, the research community and health systems and long-term care facilities to share their views, comments and perspectives about what elements need to be addressed to help those affected by the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association had worked to urge the federal government to pass the National Alzheimer’s Project Act earlier this year.

The act will create a coordinated national plan to overcome the Alzheimer’s crisis and will ensure the coordination and evaluation of all national efforts in Alzheimer’s research, clinical care, institutional and home- and community-based programs.

“We’re expecting an avalanche of people who are going to need care,” said Susan Cohen, a spokeswoman for Brandywine. With the Baby Boom Generation aging, the prevalence of the disease is expected to rise.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is the only one among the top 10 in the country without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.

“We continue to do a better job and improve the quality of life for people with dementia,” Cohen said. “I think it’s important for us to hear where we’ve fallen short.”

Cohen said it is important to hear a variety of voices, such as those living with Alzheimer’s who are still able to express themselves about the type and quality of care they are receiving. All this input, she hopes, will serve as the basis for a national strategy that will more effectively allocate resources for research and medical studies.

“We desperately need funding to fill in the gaps,” she said.

The Alzheimer’s Association hopes that by making Alzheimer’s a national priority, the federal government will be able to mirror the successes made in helping to lower the number of deaths from other major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, pneumonia and stroke.

“There are so many ways we can appreciate and really improve on how we deal with people with Alzheimer’s,” Cohen said.

The public input session will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 11:30 am, October 12, 2011
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