There is a crisis brewing in this country and it is one that does not get enough attention. That crisis is the growing number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and the fact that there is no way to prevent, stop or even slow its progression. Over 5 million people are currently living with this disease, with over 300,000 living in New York State. If left unchecked, there may be as many as 14 million people living with this disease by mid-century.
There are also 15.5 million friends and relatives who work tirelessly as caregivers for their loved ones who slowly forget who they are, how to take care of themselves and how to do basic things like go to the bathroom and swallow. In addition to the human toll, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive condition in the nation, costing $214 billion a year. This number will rise to the trillions by 2050. If we could eliminate Alzheimer‘s tomorrow, we could save half a million lives every year, not to mention the cost savings that would result.
My mother suffered with this horrible disease for over 20 years and my father, husband and I were her primary caregivers. Cures were promised but none came to fruition and, alarmingly, they have not to this day. More dollars need to be allocated to finding a cure and to helping caregivers.
On April 9th, more than 800 people living with Alzheimer’s, caregivers and advocates from across the nation will gather in Washington DC for the 26th Annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum. The main focus of the Forum will be to appeal to members of Congress for action on Alzheimer’s Disease.
It is my honor to be an Alzheimer’s Ambassador to Congressman Steve Israel. He fully understands the magnitude of this crisis and continues to be a champion of our cause. I would ask that you call Congressman Israel’s office and let him know that you are concerned about this crisis and that you fully support his efforts to make Alzheimer’s a national priority. To learn how you can get personally involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s, please visit alz.org.
Kathy Scopp Distler, Jericho