Letter: Support those with Alzheimer’s

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I would like to offer my sincere thanks once again to Congressman Tom Suozzi for his continued support for those living with the Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. He has recently agreed to co-sponsor two very important pieces of legislation, the More HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act and the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act.

The HOPE Act would educate providers and individuals living with dementia about the reimbursement under Medicare for care planning services. It is important that after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, patients and their families are apprised of services available in the community to assist them during the long road that they are about to embark upon. This type of care-planning consultation would have been very helpful when my mother was diagnosed. Instead, we were pretty much left to fend for ourselves.

More than 200,000 people under the age of 60 have been diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s primarily show symptoms of the disease beginning in their 50s, but some show signs of the disease as early as their 30s or 40s. Without this Younger-Onset Act, these individuals and their families are unable to qualify for much-needed assistance under the Older Americans Act.

The nutritional programs, in-home services, transportation, legal services and respite care would have been invaluable to my mother, who was diagnosed at age 57 and my father and I, who were her primary caregivers.

We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Suozzi to make life more bearable for those suffering with this disease and their families and to provide funding for research necessary to find a cure for this horrible disease.

—Kathy Distler


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