In a recent town hall meeting, my fellow advocates from Spokane and I shared staggering facts and statistics about Alzheimer’s disease. It’s the third-leading cause of death in Washington, where the Alzheimer’s Association estimates 323,000 caregivers in 2012 provided an estimated 368,000 unpaid hours of care valued at $4.5 billion.
I was diagnosed with this disease at the age of 52. I am now 56. I have lost my career, many friends and my good health. My mother had the same outcome.
We are at a critical moment in the Alzheimer’s epidemic, and it is incumbent upon the nation’s leaders to ensure the promise of the country’s first-ever National Alzheimer’s Plan.
I urge Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to co-sponsor the Hope for Alzheimer’s Act and support a strong National Alzheimer’s Plan with the needed resources, including $100 million in fiscal year 2014, for Alzheimer’s research, education, outreach and caregiver support activities.
Alzheimer’s disease is devastating physically, emotionally and financially. The number of people impacted by Alzheimer’s will only continue to escalate if resources aren’t allocated now.