MENTAL HEALTH AND DEGENERATIVE BRAIN DISORDERS
During the 2015 fiscal year, San Diego County had an estimated 84,405 residents over the age of 55 who were living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia (ADOD) which are degenerative brain disorders. By the year 2030, it is estimated that 115,000 San Diegans age 55 years and older will be living with ADRD, an increase of 36% from 2015. According to the published 2018 County of San Diego Department of Health and Human Services Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia Reports in San Diego, the following factors impact our communities in San Diego County (Source aforementioned report, page IV):
- "The East Region of the County had the greatest number (21,901) and proportion (16.7%) of residents age 55 years and older living with ADRD"
- "Similarly, East Region had the highest rate (5,832.1 per 100,000 residents) of residents discharged from the ED or hospital with any mention of ADRD."
- "North Coastal Region had the smallest population age 55 years and older living with ADRD (10,626)."
- "North Central Region had the lowest proportion (6.8%) of its 55 years and older population living with ADRD."
- "North Inland Region had the lowest rate (3,727 per 100,000 residents) of residents discharged from the ED or hospital with any mention of ADRD."
According to the County of San Diego, there are over 5,800 veterans with ADOD with over 1,500 veterans receiving treatment from the Veterans Health Administration. According to the County of San Diego, our communities along with the State of California, will become "ground zero" for the ADOD crisis by 2030. I believe, based upon my meetings with the County officials, that our communities need to be proactive in order to stem the tide of ADOD along with other degenerative brain disorders and mental health issues across the nation.
When our communities examine the economic and emotional impact of ADOD to our communities, the numbers can be daunting. As we add in related medical and legal issues of additional degenerative brain injuries such as traumatic brain injuries found in service members, veterans, children who play contact sports, and professional athletes, the picture of potential financial and community impact expands. Supporting this effort by our communities is invaluable as we work to create preventative measures that integrate healthy living with research and development for solution focused services and solutions to Alzheimer's, Mental Health and Degenerative Brain Disorders.
As your Congressional Representative for the 50th District, I will work with the community to create legislation, work with subject matter experts to create solutions through research, collaborations within the County, grant funding for further research for a cure, and improvements to the healthcare system for the aging population so that we can all live a longer and independent life.