Letter: Time to address disease is now

Published:

 

Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, is the most expensive disease in America. By 2050, it could bankrupt our health care system.

I live with Alzheimer's every day, personally and professionally as president of Alzheimer's Association. My mother lived with dementia for nearly 20 years before her death. Like more than 50 percent of those living with Alzheimer's or dementia, she was never formally diagnosed. My father, now 97, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 15 years ago.

I am not alone. In 2010, there were approximately 150,000 Washingtonians living with Alzheimer's disease, being looked after by more than 350,000 caregivers, mostly unpaid family members. We expect those numbers to triple by 2050. Alzheimer's is now the third leading cause of death in Washington.

We're at a critical moment in the Alzheimer's epidemic. It's incumbent upon our leaders to ensure the promise of this nation's first-ever National Alzheimer's Plan. Washington is one of only six states that does not have a state Alzheimer's disease plan. We want to change that.

Bring your voice to our Public Policy Town Hall meeting at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Clark County Public Service Center. Speak up for the needs and rights of people with Alzheimer's and their families. Help persuade Congress to address those needs through legislative action.

Bob Le Roy

Seattle