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Letter to Editor: Terri Burke reminds Alzheimer’s, dementia don’t back down; families, caregivers suffer

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month.

My family has been on a 7-year journey with dementia. I have been reflecting on the long road we have traveled and the challenges we have faced together. A dementia diagnosis brings fear and anxiety for everyone involved.

Terri Burke’s dad still enjoys a walk in the park with her. (Photo provided)

We have learned to take on each new trial with the help of others that have come before us and with the unfaltering support of the available services of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Over the past decade, Congress has helped us advance the fight against Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.

The bipartisan NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability & Investment Act would build on this progress by continuing to promote rapid research and improve the delivery of clinical care and services for people affected. I’m calling on my Representative Thomas Massie to show his support by cosponsoring these important bills.

As a current caregiver I feel his support is critical to our fight because this horrible disease will continue to impact a coming wave of our aging population. Many families, perhaps including anyone reading this letter, WILL be impacted.

This disease does more than take lives, it wipes out life savings and drives the cost of care to the Medicaid system.

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Over 11 million Americans serve as caregivers. Deaths from Alzheimer’s have more than doubled between 2000 and 2019, while those from heart disease — the leading cause of death — have decreased.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are not backing down, so neither can we.

Please join me in asking Congressman Massie to prioritize Alzheimer’s and dementia by supporting the NAPA Reauthorization Act and Alzheimer’s Accountability & Investment Act.

Terri Burke, Ludlow

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