New data from the Alzheimer's Association shows 89,000 Minnesotans over the age of 65 are now living with Alzheimer's. That number is expected to grow to 100,000 in the next five years, and 120,000 by 2025.
Those figures have some lawmakers, including Rep. Deb Kiel (R-Crookston), pushing for more research funding.
"I personally, like many people, have had family there," Kiel says. "There is a real emotional cost when you watch family go back in time and not be able to take care of themselves and you lose the person that they were."
Kiel's bill would set aside $5 million in competitive grant money for Minnesota Alzheimer's researchers. It would also spend $500,000 for cognitive testing, and $250,000 for a public awareness campaign.
"There are some cutting edge things that are coming up and I think we are getting there and we want to put a little gas on it and make it move fast," Kiel adds.
Kiel's bill passed out of committee today, but Chairman Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) cautioned that in light of the House GOP wanting to trim the Health and Human Services budget, it may be a challenge to pay for it.