Oregon Alzheimer’s advocates asking lawmakers for support to fight disease

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — The toll of Alzheimer’s and other dementias goes beyond the emotional and physical impact for families facing a diagnosis. In 2021, Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost the U.S. $355 billion dollars for things like health care and long-term care, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Unless a treatment to slow, stop or prevent the disease comes along, by 2050 Alzheimer’s is projected to cost more than $1.1 trillion dollars, and that’s before we adjust for projected inflation.

“It impacts all of us. If you are a resident of the United States, you are affected by the cost of dementia,” local Alzheimer’s Advocate Jenn Cook-Buman said.

Next month, Cook-Bauman and 61 other Oregonians will meet with Oregon lawmakers to push for more resources to find a cure.

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, around 69,000 people in Oregon and 120,000 in Washington, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s latest research.

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One in three seniors will die from a form of the disease. It kills more people than breast and prostate cancer combined.

“We are one of the lowest funded causes and yet in the top 10 causes of death and most expensive,” Cook-Buman said.

She knows the pain behind the numbers firsthand. Several of her family members suffer from Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their diagnosis has often been early on-set.

“Being in my mid-50s, it freaks me out a lot,” she said.

She also works in the senior long-term care industry.

“I see the impact on the families that I work with constantly. It’s very devastating,” she said.

On Feb. 8-10 she will be one of 62 Oregonians to meet virtually with legislators to share personal experiences and ask for legislative support in the fight against Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.

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“The impact is not just on the families that are in a direct impact with the emotional aspect of it and the financial aspect, but every taxpayer in the nation,” Cook-Buman said.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a terrific resource for facts, information and support just visit ALZ.org.

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