As Dr. Kim Schrier replaces Dave Reichert as our representative in the U.S. Congress, I feel it is important she recognizes that Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive disease in America, and that Congressional action to fight it is essential. It is also the third leading cause of death in our state.
This issue is dear to my heart because I personally lost my mom to Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago. I now have several friends who have at least one parent living with Alzheimer’s and my mom’s sister is now in the mid-late stages of it as well. Having been a care partner with my dad who was my mom’s main caregiver, I know clearly how much this disease not only affects the loved ones that have it but also the family and friends that surround them.
Here in Washington state there are more than 110,000 people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and these folks are cared for by 341,000 unpaid family caregivers. It is a job of requiring massive amounts of energy, patience, and love. These family caregivers need support.
In recent years, Congress dramatically increased funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health. However, Alzheimer’s Association priority bills to provide better care and support for families dealing with this devastation of this disease such as the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act and the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act, advanced but did not pass and now must be reintroduced in 2019.
I plan to urge our new WA08 Representative Dr. Kim Schrier to join Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell in making Alzheimer’s a national priority. Emails and calls to our members of Congress are always recorded and can make a difference. Many Washington families need us to keep fighting for better support in dealing with this disease. Please join me in this important endeavor.