Weekly Feature

2018-04-11 / Letters to the Editor

Advocates needed for legislation on Alzheimer’s

Misplaced keys or forgetting a name is not Alzheimer’s disease. It is not a normal aging issue. Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in our country. There are more than 5 million Americans living with this disease, with in excess of 400,000 here in New York State. By 2025 this number is expected to increase by 15 percent. There is no cure. There are no survivors. It is a public health crisis. Every 60 seconds someone develops this horrible illness.

Although it feels like only yesterday, I lost my mom 12 years ago after her 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. I was her sole caregiver. To lose your loved one, bit by bit, day by day, for years and years is heart wrenching. Since then, my mission is to raise both awareness and funds for research.

Alzheimer’s legislation is a bipartisan effort. The BOLD (Building Our Largest Dementia) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S2076/HR4256) was introduced on Nov. 6, 2017, and is endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association. Some of the services include implementing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, improving treatment and preventing unnecessary hospitalizations. This bill supports both public and private entities focusing on ways to develop best practices for intervention.

Having something like this in place could have made a huge difference in my mother’s case (for example, medications sooner with earlier detection and avoiding many costly hospital trips).

Kudos to Rep. Brian Higgins, who was one of the first to co-sponsor this act. We need to reach out and encourage Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand — who have yet to sign on — to do so. Time to advocate with a phone call, email or letter. The policymakers in Washington, D.C., can improve the lives of those affected with Alzheimer’s disease, their caregivers and their communities.

Please join me in taking a BOLD stand.

Nancy Swiston
Broad Street

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