Columbia, S.C. – Lieutenant Governor Kevin Bryant is pleased to announce that he has signed a resolution through the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association recognizing Alzheimer’s disease as a public health crisis impacting the nation’s health care infrastructure. By sponsoring this resolution, Lieutenant Governor Bryant and colleagues from 17 other states are leading the charge for a nationwide public health response to this crisis.

Through his work overseeing the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging, Lt. Governor Bryant understands all too well the impact that Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias have on South Carolina and the nation. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Facts and Figures Report, South Carolina currently has over 89,000 people living with Alzheimer’s, as well as the highest Alzheimer’s death rate in America.

In the resolution, the National Lieutenant Governors Association encourages the promotion of “policies that support investment in a nationwide public health response to this crisis to reduce risk for cognitive decline, optimize the health, well-being, and functioning of people living with dementia and their caregivers, and mitigate associated costs for individuals and for the government by encouraging public health departments to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.”

“South Carolina knows first-hand the destructive nature of Alzheimer’s and the sorrow it brings and leaves behind,” said Lieutenant Governor Kevin Bryant. “While Alzheimer’s is often viewed as an aging issue, the time has come to recognize it as the public health crisis that it is, not only here in South Carolina but around our entire country. It is my most sincere hope that this resolution will help bring about immediate action and one day lead to a cure.”

In South Carolina alone, Alzheimer’s disease costs taxpayers $573 million each year through Medicaid, which is projected to nearly double by 2025. Over 309,000 caregivers in the state provide 352 million hours in unpaid care each year. Alzheimer’s is the currently the sixth leading cause of death in South Carolina and across the nation – sparking office holders like the Lieutenant Governor to take action.

“We applaud Lieutenant Governor Bryant sponsorship of this important resolution to address Alzheimer’s as a public health issue. This disease creates a devastating ripple effect, impacting not only those individuals and their families, but also our healthcare systems and society as a whole,” said Cindy Alewine, President/CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter. “While researchers seek more effective treatments, we must not lose this opportunity to intervene by reducing risk factors, increasing early detection and ensuring the best possible care of those living with Alzheimer’s and related dementia.”

For more information on resources for families facing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, please visit alz.org/sc or contact the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging at 1-800-868-9095.

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Mike Scruggs