Promise garden flowers are assembled for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Promise garden flowers are assembled for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Opinion: Let’s keep momentum in the fight against Alzheimer’s

It’s time to reauthorize these bills to keep up our momentum in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and all other types of Dementia.

  • By Sara Hondel
  • Tuesday, November 28, 2023 2:30am
  • Opinion

As an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer advocate, I am thankful to share my story and work with my elected officials to bring more attention to this critical issue. The progress we have made in the fight to end Alzheimer’s would not have been possible without bipartisan congressional support.

I am sincerely grateful to Sen. Lisa Murkowski for being the prime sponsor for the National Alzheimer’s Project Act Reauthorization (NAPA: bill 619) and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act (AAIA: bill 620) in the Senate chamber.

Sen. Dan Sullivan recently joined the fight by co-sponsoring these important dementia-specific bills. By 2025, it’s projected that 11,000 Alaskans, aged 65 years and older, will have Alzheimer’s. Alaska Natives have the highest likelihood of any race to develop dementia, as 35% of Alaska Native peoples can expect to develop dementia in their lifetime.

As someone who has a connection to Alzheimer’s through her husband’s late grandfather, Grandpa Joe, the support of these policies means so much. Knowing Grandpa Joe’s journey with this saddening disease and the impact it had on my extended family inspired me to contribute to efforts combating this disease that affects millions each year. As an Alaskan, I care about ensuring basic resources for Americans with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, and I would like to encourage Rep. Mary Peltola to co-sponsor these Acts as well.

The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease — which aims to increase research, enhance care, expand support, and reduce risk (among others) — will expire soon if Congress doesn’t renew its commitment to the Alzheimer’s crisis in America.

The Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act will ensure that Congress continues to hear directly from the scientists at the National Institutes of Health about the funding needed for Alzheimer’s research.

It’s time to reauthorize these bills to keep up our momentum in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and all other types of Dementia. Back in April 2023, Peltola appeared on the radio show Talk of Alaska, where she said she would co-sponsor, but months have passed with no sponsorship.

Please join me in asking Rep. Mary Peltola to cosponsor and support the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act. We must continue investing in Alzheimer’s care and research to bring an end to this devastating disease.

Sara Hondel is an advocate and board member for the Alaska Chapter — Alzheimer’s Association and member of Team ‘Kenai ALZ Stars’.

More in Opinion

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks about teacher bonuses during consideration a bill increasing state funds for public education in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Rep. Ben Carpenter: Time to disrupt our legislative process

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, presents information on a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Fishing, energy move into spotlight

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of debating an omnibus education bill in the Alaska House Chambers on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Finding common ground on education

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks to attendees at a town hall event on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Taking action for workers, supporting kids

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Bills move forward and public weighs in

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Alaska House Rep. Ben Carpenter, center, speaks to constituents at the Alaska State Capitol, in this undated photo. (Courtesy Office of Rep. Ben Carpenter)
Rep. Ben Carpenter: Focusing on fiscal stability

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Alaska Council of School Administrators logo. (Photo provided)
Op-Ed: The K-12 Fiscal Cliff: Who is Responsible? Everyone!

Seven years is a very long time to go without a meaningful permanent state funding increase

Priya Helweg is the Deputy Regional Director and Executive Officer for the Office of the Regional Director (ORD), Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Region 10. (Image via hhs.gov)
Opinion: Inflation Reduction Act makes prescription drugs less expensive and more accessible

The Medicare program, can, for the first time, negotiate a fair price for certain prescription drugs taken by millions of beneficiaries

Alaska House Rep. Ben Carpenter, center, speaks to constituents at the Alaska State Capitol, in this undated photo. (Courtesy Office of Rep. Ben Carpenter)
Rep. Ben Carpenter: Looking toward strategic education reforms

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks to attendees at a town hall event on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Hearings for bills on the horizon

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Energy on the front burner

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

In this undated file photo the Trans-Alaska pipeline and pump station north of Fairbanks, Alaska is shown. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Opinion: The PROVE IT Act would affirm Alaska LNG makes global sense

The PROVE IT Act is U.S. Senate legislation to study the emissions intensity of goods produced in the U.S. with those produced in other countries