By Jaime Herrera Beutler
Alzheimer’s has a devastating impact on the seniors in this nation and for those living in the state of Washington it’s no different. According to the Alzheimer’s Association ten percent of seniors in our state are living with the disease. There is however legislation seeking to improve the outlook regarding care programs and effective diagnosis. I put my support behind H.R. 1559, the Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act, a bipartisan resolution that would increase access to information about care and strengthen support for newly diagnosed individuals and their families.
Those who have experienced the Alzheimer’s diagnosis will tell you: information and support are crucial to both the individual and their caregiver but they are often overlooked due to a lack of resources. It is estimated that as many as half of individuals who meet the specific diagnostic criteria for dementia have never received a formal diagnosis. The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act seeks to educate individuals with Alzheimer’s and their families, as well as the health care providers that support them. As a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee that sets spending levels for federal agencies I have also been supportive of full funding for the National Institute of Health through the 21st Century Cures Act, established to fund the further development of strategic plans for high level research. Support for this legislation would be instrumental in providing for those loved ones dealing with Alzheimer’s, as well as providing for the well-being of the seniors in our state. Currently, the bill is awaiting a hearing with the U.S. House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees. Upon committee approval, it will then come to the U.S. House floor for a vote.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t just impact those with the disease; it changes the lives of friends and family close to them. I believe Congress has the opportunity to not only help increase the support for those suffering from an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but to boost the efforts of those seeking a cure.