It is time we change our thinking on Alzheimer’s disease. Too often Alzheimer’s is treated as an aging issue, ignoring the public health consequences of a disease that someone in the U.S. develops every 66 seconds. And with two-thirds of its annual costs being borne by Medicare and Medicaid, it is one that demands more attention from our government.
Nine years ago my father became one of the 5 million people in the nation living with Alzheimer’s and one of more than 10,000 people in Santa Barbara County. Sadly, I lost my father to the disease last year, but I completely understand the disease’s impact and the physical and emotional costs of the disease. Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease, and it will eat you alive if you don’t get on top of it.
Congress has a chance to take decisive action by passing the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 2076/H.R. 4256). Endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association, the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act would create an Alzheimer’s public-health infrastructure across the country to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions including increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the U.S. Alzheimer’s costs the country more than $259 billion a year, which is why we need the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. If we are going to end Alzheimer’s disease, then we must start treating it like the public health threat it is.
Join me in asking Congressmember Salud Carbajal to fight for the millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s by cosponsoring the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act.
Leigh Cashman is an Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador.