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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 10, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Alzheimer’s disease claims the lives of many

It is time to act

The time is now. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is the most expensive disease in America. By 2050, it could bankrupt our health-care system.

I live with Alzheimer’s every day, both personally and professionally. My mother lived with dementia for nearly 20 years before her death. Like more than 50 percent of those currently living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, she was never formally diagnosed. My father, now 97, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 15 years ago.

I am not alone. In 2010, there were approximately 110,000 Washingtonians living with Alzheimer’s disease, being looked after by more than 300,000 caregivers, mostly unpaid family members. We expect those numbers to triple by 2050. Alzheimer’s is now the third-leading cause of death among seniors in Washington.

We are at a critical moment in the Alzheimer’s epidemic. It is incumbent upon our nation’s leaders to ensure the promise of the country’s first-ever National Alzheimer’s Plan. Sen. Patty Murray is a leading advocate for improved health-care quality and coverage. Please join me in urging her, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to support full implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan with vital resources for Alzheimer’s research, education, outreach and caregiver support.

Bob Le Roy, president and chief executive officer, Western & Central Washington State Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Seattle

 

Comments | More in Health care | Topics: alzheimer's, care, death

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