Letter: Krista Klemens, Leesburg

Editor: 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.

My dad passed away from Alzheimer’s in December, 2012. For many years my mom was his primary caregiver, and I saw the toll Alzheimer’s took on her physically, emotionally, and financially. Fast forward five years, and the number of Virginians with Alzheimer’s disease continues to increase from 140,000. In Virginia alone, it is expected that 190,000 individuals will be living with Alzheimer’s by 2025, an increase of 35.7 percent over a 10-year period. Alzheimer’s poses a real public health crisis, and steps need to be taken to mitigate its impact going forward.

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 thanking Congresswoman Barbara Comstock for co-sponsoring the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, and for her continued efforts to fight for the millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s.

Visit alz.org/nca for more information on the fight to end Alzheimer’s.

Krista Klemens, Leesburg

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