To the editor,

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America. At a current cost of $236 billion a year, we cannot delay finding a cure for this disease that could drain Medicare dry. And yet, that is exactly what might happen.
 
Right now, nearly one in every five Medicare dollars is spent on people with Alzheimer’s or some other dementia. But this is only the beginning since 78 million baby boomers have started moving into the age zone for Alzheimer’s - and we are finding many cases of early onset of this disease as well, showing up at age 50 or younger. At this rate, we expect the costs to soar to over $1 trillion by 2050.
 
 
And yet Congress is indicating that it is planning to delay providing additional research funding. This could not be happening at a worse time, when real breakthroughs are being made and continued funding looks very hopeful for finding a cure sooner rather than later. The simple truth is that we cannot affort to wait. 
 
Over 5.4 million Americans are suffering -  as well as their family caregivers -  with a brain illness that can go on for 10 years or more, wth no way  to prevent it, cure it or even slow it down. I know all about this since I spent 15 difficult years caregiving to my mother and my husband at the same time. They were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s within weeks of each other.  Over that 15 years, both my father and brother, who were caregiving along with me, died before those who were ill. This is not an uncommon story since Alzheimer’s caregiving is extremely stressful.  
 
Now only I am left. That is why I became an Alzheimer’s Association Congresssional Ambassador.  I know personally about the devastation, both emotional and financial, of Alzheimer’s. We must find a cure - and fast.
 
Here in NJ District 7, we are very lucky to have Congressman Leonard Lance representing us. He is truly a champion for Alzheimer’s. Please contact Lance today and ask him to continue the fight against Alzheimer’s disease by approving an additional $400 million in NIH funding for fiscal year 2017 by the Dec. 9 deadline.
 
Action is needed now. Congress must not wait to help those living with Alzheimer’s.
 
Jeannie Castells
Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador
Lambertville