Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

February 2, 2014

In Your View

(Continued)

ASHLAND — Alzheimer’s gets record funding

At the urging of the Alzheimer's Association and more than 600,000 advocates who called, sent postcards and visited their legislators, Congress passed and the President has signed into a fiscal 2014 funding bill that includes an unprecedented $122 million increase for Alzheimer's research, education, outreach and caregiver support.

On behalf of the 80,000 Kentuckians and 120,000 Indiana residents who have Alzheimer's and the nearly 600,000 family members and friends who care for them, we want to extend a special thanks to the Kentucky and Southern Indiana legislators who voted in favor of this funding: John Yarmuth, Hal Rogers, Larry Bucshon, Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, Andy Barr and Todd Young.

Federal and state monies, combined with local chapters’ continued fundraising efforts, are critical to:

-- Ensuring that we meet the National Alzheimer’s Plan goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025;

-- Treating and preventing a disease that is always fatal (in fact, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America, and the only cause of death among the top 10 for which there is no way to prevent, stop or even slow its progression);

-- Funding research that will discover new drugs to treat the disease, because no new Alzheimer’s medications have been approved in more than 10 years;

--  Stemming the enormous costs of caring for those with Alzheimer's, currently estimated at $203 billion a year, including $142 billion to Medicare and Medicaid.

The federal Alzheimer’s funding increase is a significant milestone in changing the trajectory of Alzheimer’s that, without intervention, means more than 97,000 Kentuckians  and 130,000 Indiana residents will be living with Alzheimer’s by 2025.

When he Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Associations gathers advocates to meet legislators in Frankfort this week, we hope our state lawmakers join with their federal counterparts to join with us in the effort to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's by 2025.

Teri Shirk, president, Alzheimer's Association, Kentucky and Southern  Indiana Chapter

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