June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s is one of those topics that no one likes to talk about, but this disease (and related dementias) can change everything, and that’s exactly why we should talk about it.
My beautiful wife, Yvonne, was just 58 years old when we began to realize that something was wrong. She was losing concentration, and her memory began to fail. I had to take her driver’s license because her judgement was waning. I began to have to answer basic questions for her (at the doctors, etc.) she looked toward me to answer, although it upset her that I answered for her. She insisted she could do things herself, although she couldn’t.
It was difficult for us to get an accurate diagnosis, but ultimately we learned that it was younger onset dementia.
We walked every step of that heartbreaking journey together. Yvonne passed away just hours after our 46th anniversary at the age of 65. I miss her every single day.
Recently, I have started volunteering as an advocate with the Alzheimer’s Association. I want to help end this disease so that other families don’t have to experience what we did.
Congress can help by passing the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Act and the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. These two bills, which U.S. Sen. Tim Scott has cosponsored, will help provide services to those diagnosed under age 60 (like Yvonne) and help families access vital care planning services through Medicare.
Congressman Ralph Norman and Senator Lindsey Graham, I respectfully ask that you join Sen. Scott as cosponsors. Ninety-two thousand South Carolinians are living with Alzheimer’s today, and your support would mean more than you know.
Dennis Bright, Elgin