Nationwide infrastructure needed to combat Alzheimer’s

Too often Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are treated as a normal aging issue, ignoring the public health consequences of a disease that someone in the U.S. develops every 66 seconds.

It is time we change our thinking on Alzheimer’s disease. Too often Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are treated as a normal aging issue, ignoring the public health consequences of a disease that someone in the U.S. develops every 66 seconds.

With two-thirds of its annual costs being borne by Medicare and Medicaid, Alzheimer’s is an issue that demands more attention from our government.

As someone who has lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, I also understand the physical and emotional costs of the disease. I witnessed the painful loss of my mom over an extended period of time like so many other caregivers and families. The mind forgets time, memories, and relationships. The body forgets how to function. It truly is a devastating disease.

Congress has a chance, though, to take decisive action passing the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 2076/H.R. 4256), endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association. This new bill would create an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure across the country to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions like increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the United States. The nation currently spends $259 billion a year on Alzheimer’s, which is why we need this new approach. If we are going to end this disease, then we must start treating it like the public health threat it is.

Please join me in asking Congressman Dave Reichert and Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to fight for the five million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s by cosponsoring the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. With Alzheimer’s being the third leading cause of death in Washington state, our legislators should get on board and help ensure this bill is passed.

Karen Marez

Bonney Lake

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