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Alzheimer’s disease: devastating families, resources

• Nov 18, 2015 at 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

We support the 15.7 million family members and friends that provide 7.9 million hours of unpaid care to the 5.3 million people with Alzheimer’s disease. One-third of them have been providing care for five years or more, often in addition to caring for their own families and children in 2014. These are staggering statistics.

We can expect between 2015 and 2050 that more than 28 million baby boomers in the U.S. will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

This disease is not slowing; it’s growing. Why? Because we have not made it a priority to fund the research to find a prevention, cure or treatment to slow or stop this devastating disease that impacts the individual, their families and friends trying desperately to get from day to day.

We must acknowledge the continued rising costs of a runaway disease that is draining our Medicare and Medicaid resources. Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive disease in America, costing $226 billion in 2015 and rising to $1.1 trillion by 2050. Two-thirds of this is paid by Medicare and Medicaid. It is the sixth-leading cause of death. Out of the top 10 killers, it is the only one that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Isn’t it time we make this a priority to find a cure?

Sens. Stabenow and Peters have committed their support in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, which is a huge step forward for Michigan. Your continued grassroots efforts are needed. Write, call, email, Twitter and Facebook your legislators and future elected officials to fund research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Your future and mine depends on it.

Susan Thorpe

Grand Haven

Alzheimer’s Association volunteer ambassador

Michigan 2nd Congressional District

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