N.J. considers response to Alzheimer’s

    The Assembly’s health committee has advanced a bill that would help New Jersey address the long-term needs of residents with Alzheimer’s disease.

    The measure would establish a 15-member commission to study the incidence and impact of the disease, as well as the state’s role in providing care.

    Ken Zaentz, vice president of development for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater New Jersey Chapter, said the bill is critically important to people who struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

    “It will help to raise awareness about one of the country’s most significant health epidemics and facilitate the continued development of integrated and responsive community based services that ease the burden for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their family members and caregivers through expanded support,” he said.

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    There are about 150,000 New Jersey residents suffering with Alzheimer’s. Nationwide, 5.4 million people have the disease. A handful of other states are considering similar measures.

    The commission would have two years to hold hearings and report its recommendations to the governor and the Legislature.

    The bill still faces action by the full Assembly. The Senate approved it in December.

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