More than 180,000 New Jersey residents are living with Alzheimer's disease while many others are caring for a family member with Alzheimer's.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America's President and CEO and former New York State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. spoke to WBGO's News Director Doug Doyle about the Foundation's upcoming caregiver educational conference at Rutgers University's Busch Student Center in Piscatway on Tuesday, October 29.
During his tenure in the State Senate, Fuschillo authored more than 200 state laws and chiared the Senate Consumer Protection and Transportation Committee. He also served on the Senate Health Committee.
Fuschillo says its time the federal government comes up with more funding for Alzheimer's research.
"This is a national epidemic that the federal government needs to recognize. You know for the first time the federal government appropriated more than two-million dollars. We applaud that but it's not enough for research."
What's the most frustrating thing about Alzheimer's disease?
"Denial. People are in denial. We get many calls to our helpline (866-232-8484) which is seven days a week, staffed by licensed social workers that are specially trained in Alzheimer's and related dementias. Many times we get a call from someone who says they're experiencing memory loss or my loved one is, we won't hear from them for many months beause they just think it's a normal part of aging and they're in denial. But there is a stigma attached to this. We try to break that all the time, especially in these conferences."
Fuschillo admits there's still so much to learn about Alzheimer's.
"The unknown is really the greatest concern of research because they haven't been able to pinpoint causes and how to deal with it. But we also have to remember that every individual is different. And we're on information overload, from our iPhones to our computers to whereever we go with the news. Tomorrow's print news is old, what we hear on the radio all day long, that people have to be aware there's only so much the brain can absorb."
For more information about AFA and the free conference you can visit www.alzfdn.org. You can also call the office at 866-232-8484 or just show up at registration at 9am. The conference, which is part of the 2019 national Educating America Tour, runs from 9am to 12:30pm on October 29.
Click above to hear the entire conversation with Alzheimer's Foundation of America President and CEO Charles J. Fushcillo, Jr.