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Palm Coast Monday, Jun. 13, 2022 1 week ago

LETTER: Alzheimer's must be a priority for Palm Coast

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The NAPA Reauthorization Act would continue the national plan to address the rapidly escalating Alzheimer’s crisis.
by: Guest Writer

Send letters to [email protected]. Candidates and elected officials are encouraged to submit letters.

Dear Editor:

June is Alzheimer’s Brain Awareness month, and Flagler County is no exception to this disease.

Over 12% of Flagler’s senior population suffers from some form of dementia, and more than six million Americans are living with dementia, including over 580,000 Floridians. Prioritizing how this devastating disease is addressed remains a critical issue for our country. 

In November 2021, we lost my mom after a 9-year battle with Alzheimer’s.

Her pain and suffering were horrific, and the sense of helplessness was devastating for everyone who cared for her.

My mother suffered no other illness except dementia and watching your parent die because they no longer remember how to swallow was agonizing and heartbreaking. 

Throughout my mother’s journey, it quickly became apparent how many people truly do not understand dementia.

We also realized caregiving for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s was no small feat and would require a great deal of patience, understanding and commitment.

As my mom’s dementia progressed, she would eventually require 24/7 care, but both my wife and I had full-time jobs.

Yet, because my wife adored my mother, she agreed to quit her corporate position to be a full-time, unpaid, caregiver.

More than 16 million Americans provide more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care for family and friends suffering from Alzheimer’s or other dementias. 

So, what can we do?

Well, the Alzheimer’s Association is one of the leading organizations in the fight against dementia, and currently, several bills are being presented to Congress.

The NAPA Reauthorization Act would continue the national plan to address the rapidly escalating Alzheimer’s crisis and keep it a national priority.

The Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act would ensure Congress hears from scientists what they need to meet the nation’s goal and equips Congress with the best information to determine necessary Alzheimer’s research funding levels. 

Unfortunately, over 40,000 of Rep. Waltz’s constituents are living with dementia, yet the representative has never co-sponsored any dementia bills during his tenure. 

Please join me and the Alzheimer’s Association in encouraging Rep. Waltz to address the critical national public challenge Alzheimer’s poses by supporting the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act.

With his support, we can continue to fight for our loved ones and the more than 16 million unpaid caregivers who dedicate their lives to ensuring their safety.

Melissa Wos

Palm Coast

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