Help urge Congress to pass needed funds | Letter to the Editor

The statistics keep getting worse — the 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report published by the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that, for the second consecutive year, the total national cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will exceed a quarter of a trillion dollars – reaching $277 billion dollars this year.

In Washington state, there are more than 110,000 people living with Alzheimer’s dementia. Watching a close friend lose his only brother to early onset Alzheimer’s a couple years ago and then recently hearing another friend’s telling of the expected death of her dear friend from this terrible disease keeps incentivizing me to continue my advocacy for more public attention.

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the country. Medicare and Medicaid cover the lion’s share — $186 billion, or 67 percent, of the total health care and long-term care payments for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Protecting these programs is vital. Finding a treatment that delays the onset of Alzheimer’s will prevent the cost of the disease from engulfing Medicare and Medicaid.

The financial toll of this disease — on individuals living with the disease, their families and the community — is too high. National Institutes of Health scientists in their Professional Judgment Budget recommended that Congress increase funding of Alzheimer’s and dementia research by more than $425 million in fiscal year 2019.

Please join me in urging our 8th Congressional District Representative Dave Reichert to continue his support for people with dementia and those who care for them by working to pass these needed funds.

Ken Geisen

Maple Valley