There are few more compelling or complex issues confronting our aging society than Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. These diseases impose enormous costs to our nation’s health and prosperity, costs that are skyrocketing. A recent analysis of the National Institute on Aging’s Health and Retirement Study (HRS) revealed that, in the last five years of life, total health care spending for people with dementia was more than a quarter-million dollars per person, some 57 percent greater than costs associated with death from other diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

Today, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, resulting in an annual cost to our economy exceeding $200 billion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The disease contributes to the deaths of approximately 500,000 Americans each year. If the current trajectory persists, at least 13 million Americans will have dementia in 2050 and total costs of care are projected to exceed $1 trillion annually.

Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD Coalition) is a diverse and growing national coalition of more than 90 member organizations committed to stopping Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, including vascular disease, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal degeneration. The coalition works collaboratively to focus the nation’s attention on accelerating transformational progress in: (1) care and support to enrich the quality of life of those with dementia and their caregivers; (2) detection and diagnosis; and (3) research leading to prevention, effective treatment, and eventual cures.

LEAD Coalition members include patient advocacy organizations and health non-profits, philanthropies and foundations, trade and professional associations, academic research and clinical institutions, home and residential care providers, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Co-convened by UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and Volunteers of America, our member organizations and allies guide our work by providing critical input into the issues that affect individuals and families who are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.