ALZHEIMER’S: Call to action

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There are more than 26,000 Idahoans living with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 85,000 family members and friends are acting as unpaid caregivers.

At the beginning of April, I joined fellow Idahoans who joined the more than 1,200 attendees at the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. I believe Congress heard and will take action to lessen the burden that Alzheimer’s places on our state and nation.

Legislators were asked to continue to increase funding for Alzheimer’s disease research at the National Institutes of Health, as well as fund implementation of the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, passed by Congress into law last year.

Only 1 percent of Medicare recipients with dementia have received a care plan on how to navigate this disease. Advocates (like myself) asked members of Congress to co-sponsor the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, new legislation that will help doctors develop an individualized care plan for each of their patients.

As a social worker in a local skilled nursing facility, I help individuals and their families struggle with the long-term effects of this disease on a daily basis. It is heartbreaking to witness individuals, who once planned on living healthy into retirement, depend on help for basic daily living needs.

Please join me in urging Congressman Russ Fulcher, Senator Mike Crapo and Senator Jim Risch to invest in policies that address Alzheimer’s disease as the national public health crisis it is.

CHERYL THOMPSON

Coeur d’Alene

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