I recently returned from Washington, D.C., where more than 1,200 Alzheimer’s advocates from across the country attended the Alzheimer’s Association AIM Advocacy Forum. 

While in Washington, I met with the senior legislative assistant of Rep. Danny Davis to both share my personal story as to why I am an advocate in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease and to explain why Congress must continue to take action against Alzheimer’s. 

While Alzheimer’s disease has been traditionally seen as an aging issue, it has evolved into a public health issue for the following reasons. There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, including 97 thousand here in Illinois and more than 15 million caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, including 590,000 here in Illinois. I was one of those people. 

The annual costs are at approximately $259 billion for 2018 and are expected to rise to over $1 trillion by 2050. Congress has a chance to take decisive action by passing the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, which would create an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure across the country to implement effective interventions including early detection and diagnosis, reducing risks and preventing avoidable hospitalizations. 

Please join me in urging Congressman Davis to co-sponsor the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act.

Lela Grimble