To the editor:
Caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer's can be an emotionally, physically, and financially draining role. As a registered nurse for 20 years now working across the continuum of care, I have seen firsthand the devastating impact of AD. Many individuals do not know where to turn and are unprepared for the next steps and stark outcomes.
More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's or other dementias at an estimated cost of 18.2 billion hours valued at $230 billion.
As the baby boomer generation continues to age, these numbers will only grow. Currently, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another dementia, and every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops the disease. Because of these staggering numbers, I have joined forces with the Alzheimer's Association to encourage passage of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act or PCHETA (House Bill 1676).
If enacted, this bill will help establish an adequate, well-trained palliative care workforce through training, education, awareness, and enhancedresearch. Palliative and hospice care are specific medical approaches that focus on increasing support for patients and their caregivers.
I want to thank Congressman Adam Kinzinger for being the first co-sponsor of this bill from Illinois, which will help open communication between patients, caregivers, doctors, and staff and help ensure that quality care is available for those who are suffering. Rep. Kinzinger has shown time and time again that he is an ally in the fight to #ENDALZ and is committed to supporting research in order to find a cure.
We need more legislators in Congress like Rep. Kinzinger to ensure that weare able to make the in-roads necessary to eradicate this awful disease.