Cindy Harris (Right) receives the Advocate of the Year Award from the Alzheimer’s Association during their annual forum in Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Harris)

Cindy Harris (Right) receives the Advocate of the Year Award from the Alzheimer’s Association during their annual forum in Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Harris)

Letter to the Editor: Join the fight against Alzheimer’s

I understand firsthand the enormous burden this disease has on the families and the economy.

  • Thursday, May 16, 2019 11:53pm
  • Opinion

Join the fight against Alzheimer’s today

There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, including 8,000 here in Alaska. More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, including 33,000 here in Alaska. I was one of those Americans.

For the individual living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, care planning is essential to learning about medical and non-medical treatments, clinical trials and support services available in their community. Accessing these services results in a higher quality of life. As a caregiver for my mother who had Alzheimer’s, I understand firsthand the enormous burden this disease has on the families and the economy. For someone who flew to another state to give respite care, not only was it a financial cost for myself, the emotional toll is devastating to watch.

Thankfully, as of January 2017, Medicare covers critical care planning services. However, not enough patients and providers are aware of this resource. That is why in April, I — along with 1,300 other advocates from across the country — went to D.C. and asked Congress to co-sponsor the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 880/H.R 1873).

The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act would help educate clinicians on Alzheimer’s and dementia care planning services through Medicare. Endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association and its advocacy arm, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will give them the knowledge and tools to better help their patient and families living with dementia after diagnosis. I wish we had the resources back when my mom was sick, that passing this bill, would bring the families of today.

Please join me in asking Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young to support the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act.

To learn more about this devastating disease and how you can join the fight to end Alzheimer’s, visit alzimpact.org.

Together we can be of the 1st survivor.

— Cindy Harris, Alzheimer’s Association Alaska Ambassador

More in Opinion

Greg Sutter in a photo taken July 12, 2017, near Homer. (Photo courtesy Greg Sutter)
Voices of the Peninsula: Let’s keep ‘yellow jack’ from flying over more boats

In Homer you could see it being flown on our state ferry, M/V Tustumena, tied to the Pioneer Dock

Larry Persily (Clarion file)
Alaska Voices: LNG project economics still challenging

The new estimate released at the June AGDC meeting is 12% below the number of several years ago.

Opinion: The necessity of history

Let it stand and also let others show why her moment in history is also necessary.

Alaska Voices: UAA helps Anchorage build workforce capacity

It’s about time we asked ourselves: What can we do to support our university?

A statue of William Henry Seward, former U.S. Senator and governor of New York, Vice President and Secretary of State who negotiated the purchase of the Alaska territory from the Russian Empire in 1867 on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)
Opinion: Preserve our history, don’t tear it down

“Erasing Seward from our history won’t make our history more fair…”

A statue of William Henry Seward, former U.S. Senator and governor of New York, Vice President and Secretary of State who negotiated the purchase of the Alaska territory from the Russian Empire in 1867 on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)
Opinion: United we stand, divided we fall

Alaska Voices: The statue is causing pain to some of my neighbors.

Logo courtesy of League of Women Voters.
Voices of the Peninsula: Support new Voting Rights Act

Alaska learned from its Territorial mistakes, and now has one of the strongest election systems.

Kate Troll (Courtesy Photo | Kate Troll)
Opinion: Alaska’s environmental standards aren’t stringent

Is this how a state with the highest environmental standards in the world would act?

Trevor Storrs is the President/CEO of the Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT). (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Alaska must invest in our children

Alaska’s youngest residents — its children — need our help.

Opinion: This pandemic is not over

Make choices accordingly.

Alaska Voices: State’s office of professional standards is here for you

Members of the public are encouraged to make their concerns known