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The Alzheimer’s Crisis

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I was among over 700 of Alzheimer advocates from across the country who recently gathered in Washington, D.C. to call attention to the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease – a number that is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by mid-century unless the government addresses the growing crisis.   I was shocked to find out that Alzheimer’ s Disease is costing Medicare and Medicaid $140 billion dollars in 2012, yet the government has allotted less than half a billion to Alzheimer’s research this year.

My Father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 57 and passed away from the disease almost two years ago at the age of 63.  The day of his diagnosis was the most devastating day of my life.  I knew that this diagnosis meant, a long slow decline and certain death.  Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the US that cannon be prevented, cured or even slowed.  As Dad’s main caregiver I saw it all, the good, the bad and the ugly.  Most of it was very ugly.  This is NOT a disease where people lose their memory and peacefully sit in a nursing home.  For us Alzheimer’s was 5 years of heart-wrenching moments as my brother and I watched our Dad slip away from us.   My Dad was the 3rd generation in our family to get this disease, I do not want to be the 4th and at the very least I do not want my children to be the 5th generation.

While In DC, I had the opportunity to meet with our Congressman, Rep. Michael Burgess, to discuss the Alzheimer’s epidemic and discuss the Alzheimer’s Association’s federal priorities.

As an individual who has been impacted by Alzheimer’s, I would like to thank Rep. Michael Burgess for his commitment to Alzheimer’s issues.  I am proud that my member of Congress has supported the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, which will improve diagnosis and care for individuals and families facing this dreaded disease.  The leadership of our Congressional leaders is crucial to ending Alzheimer’s.

I invite you to join the millions of advocates working tirelessly to make Alzheimer’s disease a national priority.  Stand up for families in our community by visiting www.alz.org to become an advocate and help beat Alzheimer’s.

Bronwen Zilmer
Highland Village, TX

 

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