Alzheimer’s, an urgent public health crisis

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are more than 5 million Americans, including 94,000 Minnesotans, living with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 16 million Alzheimer’s caregivers. As an Alzheimer’s Ambassador, it is my honor to represent them.

Congress just passed the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act with a strong bipartisan vote. The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will allow our nation to address Alzheimer’s as the urgent public health crisis it has become.

I hope Rep. Ilhan Omar will continue to work with her colleagues in Congress to address Alzheimer’s as a public health crisis that must be addressed, not just from a funding standpoint but also from a caregiver standpoint.

In a story all too familiar in the fight against Alzheimer’s, during the years we were losing my grandfather, I also felt we were losing my aunt, uncle, dad and grandmother — the caregivers. My family was fortunate to find help. Many aren’t, especially those in our most vulnerable communities.

Every 65 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease, which is why Congress must remain committed to action on this devastating disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, by 2050 the total cost of care for Alzheimer’s is projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion.

The report also revealed that Alzheimer’s-related costs have soared to $277 billion in the last year, including $186 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Aside from the immeasurable human toll, these are numbers that our national budget cannot withstand.

By applying a public health approach to reduce risk, detect early symptoms and advance care, we can change the trajectory of Alzheimer’s disease and all those families affected by it.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s and how you can join the fight to end Alzheimer’s visit alz.org.

 

James Sorbel

Stevens Square

(The writer volunteers as a Congressional Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association.)

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