Commentary: Congress needs to add funding to fight Alzheimer’s

The Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act in Congress will fund research and help provide care.

By Katie Zeitler

For The Herald

There are more than 110,000 residents of our state living with Alzheimer’s disease, and more than 348,000 family members and friends are acting as unpaid caregivers.

Fellow Washingtonians who joined the 1,200 attendees at the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Advocacy Forum in April in Washington, D.C., said Congress was listening to their explanation of the burden that Alzheimer’s places on our state and nation.

This advocacy is important to me for several reasons. I have been a caregiver for the past six years and have cared for many individuals who have had Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. I have seen their decline, their struggles, and the challenges and burdens their loved ones have faced as a result of this disease.

I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s in 2008. He lived a beautiful, vibrant life, but his golden years were cut short due to the disease. I will never forget when the state of California took away his driver license. He loved taking his grandkids out for rides and was no longer able to do that. He lived a life of service work and was constantly helping others. I miss him every day and I wish he could still be here with us.

We need to do more. Alzheimer’s is running rampant through our communities. Our resources are limited. Caregivers and facilities are limited. We need more infrastructure. We need more awareness. We need more funding for research. What Congress does is imperative to the future of combating this disease.

Legislators were asked to continue to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health, as well as fund implementation of the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, which Congress passed into law last year.

Alzheimer’s doesn’t strike just the elderly. The 200,000 Americans diagnosed with dementia before age 65 need services like in-home care, transportation, and caregiver support. Advocates asked members of Congress to cosponsor the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act, which will amend the Older Americans Act to serve these families too.

I am grateful that U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene has cosponsored this needed legislation, H.R. 1903. Please join me in urging U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen to join her as a cosponsor of the bill.

All our members of Congress should continue to actively support policies that address Alzheimer’s disease as the national public health crisis it is.

Katie Zeitler lives in Lynnwood.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Saturday, April 17

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

This Aug. 23, 2020 photo shows a long line of unsold 2020 models charge outside a Tesla dealership in Littleton, Colo.  The European Union is lacking sufficient charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, according to the bloc's external auditor. In a report published Tuesday, April 13, 2021, the European Court of Auditors said users are gaining more harmonized access to charging networks but the EU is still “a long way from reaching its Green Deal target of 1 million charging points by 2025." (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Editorial: Bills’ merger makes clean-driving future possible

Combining two bills will aid the sales of electric vehicles and ensure ample charging stations.

Schwab: Funny thing about investments; they cost money

Regardless of what you call it, we’ve put off maintenance and upgrades; and the bill has come due.

After winning the regionals which sent them to the Little League Softball World Series, the Marysville All-Stars celebrate. (Courtesy Marysville All-Stars)
Comment: Canceling kids’ sports is doing more harm than good

Suspending youth sports has taken a mental and physical toll; and the games aren’t spreading covid.

Comment: GOP will regret its breakup with big business

Its threats against the MLB over Georgia’s elections law aren’t worth the loss of baseball’s fans.

May helped with relocation of Darrington Food Bank

When our all volunteer food bank needed to suddenly relocate last month,… Continue reading

Comment: Build Mukilteo’s NOAA research center to fit budget

A decision to scrap a new station because its bids were over-budget calls for a change in plans.

FILE - In this undated photo, provided by NY Governor's Press Office on Saturday March 27, 2021, is the new "Excelsior Pass" app, a digital pass that people can download to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Vaccine passports being developed to verify COVID-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine have become the latest flash point in America’s perpetual political wars, with Republicans portraying them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices. (NY Governor's Press Office via AP, File)
Editorial: Vaccine passports can nudge more toward immunity

Used to persuade rather than exclude, the passports could increase access to businesses and venues.

Eric Brossard displays his commemorative Drug Court graduation coin that reads, "I came with hope, worked and learned. I have a new life. A life that I've earned." (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Court ruling requires focus on addiction treatment

A court decision allows for a more effective and affordable solution to substance use disorder.

Most Read