PBS recently premiered the documentary, “Every Minute Counts”, highlighting the national epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease. Many individuals are surprised to find that it is the only major chronic disease which has no cure – that is, there are no survivors. The documentary sheds light on the vast economic and social consequences perpetuated by this terrible disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Right now in Illinois, 220,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s and another 600,000 serve as caregivers – meaning that nearly eight percent of our state’s population is living this experience daily. Alzheimer’s is also the most expensive disease in America. In 2016, caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost the United States an estimated $236 billion. Between 2016 and 2050 it will cost $19.8 trillion, with nearly half of the cost being borne by Medicare.
Having watched my own father battle this incurable nightmare, my hope is that future generations do not experience this heartache. The key to success in finding a cure is through support by the federal government for research funding. I want to thank Congressman Adam Kinzinger for his previous support on this issue and ask that he support an increase of $400 million, when the budget comes up for a vote this Spring. We must find the first survivor, and it is the only way to do it.