Alzheimer’s is a public health crisis | Letter

There are more than 110,000 residents of our state living with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 348,000 family members and friends are acting as unpaid caregivers.

Those who joined the 1,200 attendees at the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Advocacy Forum in April in Washington, D.C., were glad that Congress was listening to our explanation of the burden that Alzheimer’s places on our state and nation.

This advocacy is important to me because I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s and I know the heavy burden that families carry. I have served the Alzheimer’s Association as a volunteer since 2015 and continue to serve on the board of directors.

Legislators were asked to continue to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health, as well as fund implementation of the Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, which Congress passed into law last year.

Alzheimer’s doesn’t strike just the elderly. The 200,000 Americans diagnosed with dementia before age 65 need services like in-home services, transportation, and caregiver support. Advocates asked members of Congress to co-sponsor the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act, which will amend the Older Americans Act to serve these families too.

I am grateful that Rep. Suzan DelBene has co-sponsored this needed legislation, H.R. 1903/S. 901. Please join me in urging Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to join her as co-sponsors of this needed legislation.

All our members of Congress should continue to actively support policies that address Alzheimer’s disease as the national public health crisis it is.

Bob Kaftan

Woodinville

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