I want to thank Congressman Denny Heck for meeting with me to discuss the challenges with addressing Alzheimer’s disease for families and communities. I appreciate that the congressman has co-sponsored the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (H.R.1559/S. 857), which will provide critical care planning to people newly-diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Heck understands that in addition to being the sixth leading cause of death, Alzheimer’s is also the most expensive disease in the nation, costing families and taxpayers a total of $226 billion in 2015. That number will grow to $1.1 trillion in 2050, potentially bankrupting Medicare in the process. He knows we must do so much more to manage the impacts of the disease but he also believes we must find a way to hold back the disease even find a way to prevent it.
I hope that Congressman Heck will also push to increase Alzheimer’s research funding by $300 million in fiscal year 2016 and that others in our state delegation will join him. I have watched this disease’s impact from a professional and personal view point. I work in the aging and long term care field where I see so many families struggling and yet experiencing family and friends walk this lonely path still leaves me frightened.
We can do more to tackle the impacts of Alzheimer’s and other dementias; federal leadership will be key to the fight and I for one feel fortunate that my congressman is bringing his leadership skills to the challenge.