Fight against Alzheimer’s needs support
by Amanda Harris
Mar 21, 2017 | 4659 views | 0 0 comments | 512 512 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On March 6, the Alzheimer’s Association released its 2017 Facts and Figures report with new data for the disease. Currently, it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, with no intervention or cure available.

Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s. Since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have risen by 89 percent, compared to the decrease in deaths cause by heart disease by 14 percent.

My grandmother, who is my role model and my best friend, is living with Alzheimer's disease. Until one personally interacts with Alzheimer's first hand, one does not completely understand how harsh it is.

I take part in my Brooklyn Walk with the Alzheimer's, and now I take my next steps to Capitol Hill with the Alzheimer’s Association.

In New York alone, there are 390,000 people living with Alzheimer’s, with over one million caretakers. This year, the estimated Medicaid costs for adults 65 and over suffering from dementia are estimated at $4.5 billion.

This cost is expected to increase 33.3 percent over the next eight years. The most important factor in reducing these costs is research, especially on the federal level.

On March 27-29, an estimated 1,300 ambassadors and advocates like me will descend upon Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum. Attendees from all 50 states will be involved in informative sessions about advances in research, and updates on the legislative advocacy agenda for 2017.

On the third day, we will travel to Capitol Hill and engage with our respective Senate and House members of Congress.

We will share the data above, as well as our personal stories to help motivate Congress to ensure that research funding and prior legislative initiatives/milestones are continued.

I am grateful that Representative Hakeem Jeffries has been a staunch supporter of Alzheimer’s Association initiatives. Please join me in asking him to continue the legislative momentum to battle this dreaded disease.

Visit ALZ.org to find ways to get involved with the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Amanda Harris is a resident of Brooklyn and an Alzheimer's Association ambassador.

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