We need to make Alzheimer's fight a national priority

Editor’s Note: The wrong version of this letter was run in the Dec. 21 edition of the Reporter, below is the correct version.

As Kim Schreier replaces Dave Reichert as our representative in the U.S. Congress, I hope she recognizes that Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive disease in America and that Congressional action to fight it is essential.

This is important to me because several of my friends have been, in one way or another, affected by Alzheimer’s. I understand the impact this disease is having across our state and nation. We must continue to do whatever we can to increase awareness, support caregivers and push for increased research spending.

Here in Washington state there are more than 110,000 people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and they are cared for by 341,000 unpaid family caregivers.

In recent years, Congress has dramatically increased funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health but more is needed to meet the national goal of a treatment by 2025. I am grateful that Congress passed the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, which will treat Alzheimer’s like the public health emergency that it is.

But another Alzheimer’s Association priority bill to provide better care and support for people with dementia did not pass. The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act must be reintroduced in 2019.

Let’s all urge Dr. Schreier to join Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell in making Alzheimer’s a national priority.

Ken Geisen

Maple Valley