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Letters: June is Alzheimer's Awarness Month

Posted: June 21, 2018 2:53 p.m.
Updated: June 22, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Did you know? June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and the Alzheimer’s Association together with advocates are encouraging families to talk about memory and cognition concerns sooner? I would like to tell you how my family has been impacted.

My story is one of a hundred others. My mother, Bessie Ransom, was diagnosed with early onset dementia at age 57. My father, three sisters, and I know all too well how this disease can affect a family; that’s why I am sharing my story. In a matter of months, ours lives completely changed and we realized we had to become caregivers for both parents.

My parents had been married for more than 40 years at this point; my father couldn’t believe this was real. Several years later, one of my mother’s sisters was diagnosed, then another. All of them are now deceased; however, currently there is yet another sister that has been diagnosed. The Alzheimer’s Association helped us in so many ways get through some of the toughest times of our lives. They were the lifeline for us; the knowledge we gained, respite care we received, among other things, gave us hope through 13 years of caring for my mother.  Early detection has a whole new meaning now. The current aunt has more control over her healthcare plan. She is able to take part in decisions about her everyday life matters.

Did you know? There are 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, including 89,000 here in South Carolina. Our state has the highest Alzheimer’s mortality rate in the nation! Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and it’s the only leading cause of death without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.

That’s why I’m asking Congress to take action by passing the Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 2076/H.R. 4256). Endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association, this bill would create an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure to increase early detection and diagnosis, reduce risk and prevent avoidable hospitalizations.

I respectfully ask Congressman Ralph Norman, Senator Tim Scott and Senator Lindsey Graham to recognize Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month by cosponsoring the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. We need our members of Congress to take bold action for South Carolina families facing this disease.

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