Time to change our thinking on Alzheimer’s disease | Letter

It is time we change our thinking on Alzheimer’s disease. Too often, Alzheimer’s and other dementias are treated as an 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, it is an issue that demands more attention from our government.

As someone who has lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s, and as one of the 335,000 Washingtonians providing care to someone living with Alzheimer’s, I understand the physical and emotional costs of the disease.

Congress has a chance 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 U.S. 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.

Join me in asking Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to fight for the five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s by cosponsoring the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act.

Pete Minden

Kirkland

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