Letters to the Editor for May 3, 2016

Education about Alzheimer’s is important

Alzheimer’s is a devastating and debilitating disease that currently affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans — and roughly 15.9 million family members and friends who provide unpaid care.

Not only does Alzheimer’s ravage a person’s memories and rob their physical abilities, but this disease essentially steals the identity of a loved one. My life was forever changed when my mother was diagnosed with this heartbreaking condition. Her diagnosis came as a complete shock to our entire family.

My dad cared for my mom until he passed and then I moved her to be closer to me and assumed responsibility for her care. I watched as the disease caused her to gradually lose her ability to talk and walk. Through it all, however, she always retained her smile, graciousness and love for children.

I am blessed that I had the chance to care for her and spend those last years with her.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I am writing on behalf of my mother, Grayce Vanerio, to encourage everyone, young and old, to learn more about what they can do to fight against this disease. Community activities such Alzheimer’s walks are great ways to increase awareness and raise money for this critical fight. The Portland Walk to End Alzheimer’s is scheduled for Sept. 11 this year.

I also recently found another way in which people can meaningfully contribute to the crucial research needed to prevent it. I joined the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry to learn more about Alzheimer’s prevention research and to potentially become a participant as new clinical studies begin to enroll.

Created by Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (www.banneralz.org) in Phoenix, Arizona, the Registry is a world-wide online community of people 18 or older — with or without a family history of the disease — who are committed to ending Alzheimer’s in our lifetime. It provides regular e-mail updates about the latest Alzheimer’s research happenings, scientific advances and overall brain health.

The registry also sends vital notices and information about upcoming scientific prevention trials, and tells volunteers how they can participate.

You may think that these research studies are only for people already affected by a certain disease, but that’s not the case. In fact, many Alzheimer’s prevention studies actually need participants without any symptoms of the disease. Studies may need to screen literally thousands of potential participants to find a sufficient number of volunteers. Without these generous volunteers, scientists will not be able to conduct research trials of promising Alzheimer’s therapies, significantly delaying potentially life-saving research and treatments.

I encourage you to sign up for the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry now. It only takes a few minutes through an easy online enrollment (www.endALZnow.org). By signing up, you can help advance Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention research and stop this horrible disease from taking millions more people and impacting countless millions of their loved ones. The memories you save could be your own.

Janis Jasinsky, Camas

Trump will take care of senior citizens

Donald Trump is the only candidate who truly cares about seniors.

Unlike the other two candidates, Mr. Trump will not make any cuts to Social Security, and will not increase the age for full Social Security benefits. He will let us get prescriptions from Canada without any red tape.

We don’t want our children paying our bills. If the government is not going to keep its promises to seniors, then pay seniors interest for the “free loan.”

I am voting for Mr. Trump. He understands us. He cares. He will take good care of us. And that sounds good to me.

Jennifer Jones, Camas