To the Editor:
My story is not rare, as I was one of millions of people that became a caregiver to a person with Alzheimer’s. My father lived with the disease for nearly 15 years. My grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s as well, suffering for many years so I am aware of the emotional, physical and financial toll this disease takes.
I lost my best friend in my Dad shortly after I completed college, when I selfishly needed his advice the most. Although he was still alive when my children were born, he missed the opportunity to know what wonderful girls they are.
Their memories of him revolve around an Alzheimer’s unit, which is difficult to understand at their young ages. I cannot imagine what he endured in those years as his memory and body continued to fail him. I have seen the toll this disease takes on families and I and want to spare this hardship for other families.
For these reasons, I have asked my elected officials to make support for this vulnerable population a priority. Increased research funding is vital, but so too are enhanced care and support services for individuals and their caregivers. Thankfully, my Congresswoman, Lauren Underwood is taking an active stance on this issue by cosponsoring the bipartisan Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (H.R. 1873). This bill will help to ensure care planning services and resources are provided upfront to better prepare families affected by this disease and improve their quality of life.
Please join me in thanking Congresswoman Lauren Underwood for ensuring that Alzheimer's is brought to the forefront of the congressional agenda. Together, we have the opportunity to help those struggling with this terrible disease until the day comes when we have a prevention or a cure.