Letter to the Editor for Feb. 8, 2018

We need to rethink Alzheimer’s, urge legislators to take it on

It is time we change our thinking on Alzheimer’s disease. Too often, Alzheimer’s and other dementias are treated as an aging issue, ignoring the public health consequences of a disease that someone in the U.S. develops every 66 seconds.

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the U.S. With two-thirds of its annual costs being borne by Medicare and Medicaid, it is an issue that demands more attention from our government as the public health crisis that it is.

As one of the 110,000 living with Alzheimer’s in Washington State, I understand the physical and emotional costs of the disease.

Congress has a chance to take decisive action passing the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 2076/H.R. 4256), endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association. This new bill would create an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure across the country to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions like increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

Join me in asking Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to continue their fight for the five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, by cosponsoring the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act.

Julie Burger, Vancouver