Editor: I offer thanks to U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly and other members of Congress for supporting a funding measure that includes an increase of $350 million for Alzheimer’s and dementia research at the National Institutes of Health, bringing the total annual research funding to more than $2.8 billion and including $10 million in the appropriations package to implement the first year of the BOLD [Building Our Largest Dementia[ Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act to further address public health concerns.

Together, these FY2020 appropriations help to support the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and dementia. Now the most expensive disease in the U.S., with a total cost to taxpayers of $290 billion in 2019, there are more than five million Americans with Alzheimer’s today, and more than three times that many are projected in 2050. Added to that are more than 16 million caregivers currently providing unpaid care.

There is still much more we need to accomplish to vanquish all forms of dementia. I lost my father to Younger Onset Alzheimer’s in 2015 after a long struggle, with getting a proper diagnosis, treatment, and then finding an appropriate memory-care facility when he was no longer safe at home. Families face extreme challenges in caring for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

If you need more information, please call the Alzheimer’s Association toll-free at (800) 272-3900.

Michelle Alonso, Vienna

Alonso is an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer ambassador.

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