Improving Care Through Public Policy

Without the development of a disease-modifying biomedical therapy, the number of people aged 65 years and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly triple, from 5.5 million to a projected 13.8 million, by 2050 (Alzheimer’s Association, 2017). It is imperative that society be able to care for them. The practices featured throughout this supplement are just a few of the effective, individualized care models that can meet the needs and preferences of persons living with dementia, but more are required. We must be able to test, improve, and expand existing models and develop new ones.

Policy can be a powerful driver of this expansion and innovation. Promotion of standards and practices by the federal and state governments can extend the reach of high-quality care to more people in need. Indeed, with input from and robust advocacy by the Alzheimer’s Association and its advocates, Congress unanimously passed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (Public Law 111–375) in December 2010, which President Barack Obama signed into law in January 2011, elevating Alzheimer’s to a national policy priority.

The Gerontologist