Today, on Capitol Hill, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 2800, a bill introduced by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program. H.R. 2800 passed the Committee without opposition on a voice vote and now awaits consideration on the House floor.
"I am pleased that the House Judiciary Committee voted to provide vital assistance to vulnerable Alzheimer's patients and their families by reauthorizing the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program. I urge House leadership to bring this bill to the House floor as soon as possible." said Congresswoman Waters.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease currently affects over 5 million Americans, and more than 60% are likely to wander away from home. Wanderers are vulnerable to dehydration, weather conditions, traffic hazards, and individuals who prey on vulnerable seniors. Wanderers often cannot remember who they are or where they live and cannot assist law enforcement officials and other first responders who try to help them.
The Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program is a Department of Justice program that provides grants to nonprofit organizations to operate programs to help local communities and law enforcement officials quickly identify persons with Alzheimer's disease who wander and reunite them with their families. As passed by the Judiciary Committee, H.R. 2800 reauthorizes the program for five years and authorizes $1 million per year for grants.
"This program saves law enforcement officials valuable time and allows them to focus on other security concerns. It also reduces injuries and deaths among Alzheimer's patients, brings peace of mind to their families, and thus allows more Alzheimer's patients to remain at home with people who love them," said Congresswoman Waters.
H.R. 2800 is cosponsored by 18 Members of Congress, including Congressman Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA), the Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. The bill is also supported by both the Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.