Letter: Linda M. Barba

Alzheimer’s: Our Nation’s Most Expensive Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive disease in the United States. Today the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s cost our nation an estimated $259 billion, including $175 billion to Medicare and Medicaid. If we fail to make a difference right now in the fight against Alzheimer’s, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s could soar to as many as 16 million in 2050. Costs from Alzheimer’s on its current path between now and 2050 are projected to total $20 trillion.

As the sixth-leading cause of death, Alzheimer’s is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. There are no Alzheimer’s survivors.

The urgency is clear: Alzheimer’s cannot wait. In order to change the trajectory of this devastating disease, we must take bold steps now towards finding the needed treatments, prevention, and — one day — a cure. Toward this end, we must urge our members of Congress to support a $414 million increase for research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Alzheimer’s disease for FY2018.

Bring Your Voice to Washington D.C.

The Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum is the nation’s premier Alzheimer’s advocacy event held in Washington, D.C. During the last week of March, a record number of concerned citizens from across the country will engage with the 115th Congress to ensure Alzheimer’s remains a priority and to advocate for continued Alzheimer’s research funding.

We can’t do this alone. We need you to bring your voice! The Alzheimer’s Association is providing transportation via bus to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 29 for Day on the Hill. I encourage anyone concerned about the Alzheimer’s health crisis to make this bus trip. For more information and to register, call the Alzheimer’s Association — the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research — on its 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 or visit act.alz.org/dayonthehill.

Only if we work together will we one day celebrate the first Alzheimer’s survivor.

Linda M. Barba
Alzheimer’s Association, NJ Advocacy Committee Member