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Hope for Alzheimer’s

November 4, 2016
Op-Eds

Each November we celebrate a number of important occasions. We take time to honor our nation’s veterans on Veterans Day, remembering those brave men and women who chose to wear the uniform in defense of our country. We celebrate the children and parents who have become a family through adoption.  And, we also take time on Thanksgiving to simply be grateful for the many blessings in our lives…and there is much to be thankful for.

But many may not realize it is also a time to focus on something impacting millions of Americans. November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month established in 1983 by President Reagan.  The impacts of this disease touch all of us, either personally or financially as a taxpayer.

Currently, over 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Unless something is done, that number is projected to nearly triple to almost 14 million by 2025. Every single day more than 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. As this great generation ages, one in eight will develop Alzheimer’s.

Approximately 110,000 Missourians over the age of 65 are currently living with it. This number is expected to rise nearly 20 percent in the next decade alone. In 2016, the disease cost taxpayers over $800 million in Medicaid costs. According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, Alzheimer’s disease is now the costliest disease in America, outpacing cancer and heart disease. This disease is expected to cost Americans upwards of $1 trillion by 2050, a nearly five-fold increase from today. It is the sixth leading cause of death in Missouri – the ninth highest in the nation.

My family has personally experienced the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s and I know many others in our district whose lives have been impacted by the challenges of this devastating condition. In Congress I have worked to secure funding for Alzheimer’s research, and I will continue working to advance legislation to find a cure.

I urge you, this November, to go to alz.org and find an Alzheimer’s Association chapter near you so you can learn more about the disease as well as how you can help support those families facing this difficult diagnosis. Find a few moments this month to volunteer. I also invite you to attend my “Alzheimer’s Hope Forum,” in Sedalia, MO, on November 10th. It is a free, one-day forum to hear the latest on Alzheimer’s research, methods of care for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and what is being done to eradicate this serious disease.

It is time to embrace hope and to find a cure.  I invite you to join me in praying for this.  Hopefully someday soon it will be a reality.

For more information on the Congresswoman’s Alzheimer’s Hope Forum, visit here website at: https://hartzler.house.gov/about/events/2016-alzheimer-s-hope-forum

 

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