With 2020 coming to an end, I am encouraged to know that our members of Congress have spent another year committed to addressing Alzheimer’s disease. And with 5.8 million Americans living with the disease and more than 16 million unpaid caregivers, it’s vital we keep the momentum going in 2021.
As an Alzheimer’s Association advocate, I am committed to working with my senator, Todd Young, on this issue, because I witness the heartbreak and challenges of Hoosiers living with this disease every day during my work in Alzheimer’s research. As one caregiver told me, “I just wish they’d find a cure for it before I fall apart.” I watched two grandparents from both sides of my family struggle with this disease and won’t forget the sadness when they forgot who I was.
While I am thankful for the dedicated support of our leaders like Sen. Young for our accomplishments in 2020, there is still much to be done in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease. This year alone, Alzheimer’s has cost our nation more than $305 billion, making it among the most expensive diseases in our country. If we don’t make the necessary inroads to find a prevention or cure, Alzheimer’s may cost our nation upwards of $1.1 trillion by 2050. And there’s no way to put into words the emotional impact this disease has on families all over the country. Robbing our loved ones of the very memories they spent a lifetime creating is, simply put, crueler than anything else I could imagine.
I will continue advocating for a cure or treatment to eradicate Alzheimer’s for good. Until that time comes, I look forward to working with Sen. Young to make Alzheimer’s a priority in 2021.
Nina Johnson, Carmel, Alzheimer’s Association advocate