Alzheimer’s disease is the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed. This matters deeply to the more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 110,000 in Washington where it is the third leading cause of death.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2018, caring for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will cost $277 billion – including $186 billion in direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid. One in every five Medicare dollars is spent on someone with Alzheimer’s.
I am grateful that Congress in the last three years has tripled Alzheimer’s research funding at the National Institutes of Health. This effort has been led by Washington’s own Senator Patty Murray in her role on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Most recently, she got the committee to approve a 21 percent increase in 2019 funding.
I serve as an Alzheimer’s volunteer advocate to raise awareness of the cost savings of early diagnosis, the benefits of palliative care, hospice education and for research, to find a treatment to slow and stop this public health epidemic.
Please join me in thanking Senator Murray for being a champion in the fight to end Alzheimer’s. I hope Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Denny Heck will continue to follow her lead.
Patricia Le Roy