Hundreds of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease from around the U.S. have just made a trip to the nation’s capital to meet with their Congressional delegation, to discuss the urgent need for adequate care and services. They’re also pushing for research funding to prevent, treat and cure the disease. Among them is Debbie Beth Sulkowski from Spartanburg.
Sulkowski says more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, but that number may triple by the year 2050. She says she now knows what the implications are for her family after her grandfather was diagnosed with the disease, and she has also watched the families of friends battle Alzheimer’s.
Sulkowski says she will speak to Congressman Bob Inslis.
“I’ll ask his support on several issues. We always need more research funding. It’s critical, because that’s the only way we’re going to have an answer. We also need better coordinated care. There are so many needs that affected families have that our congressmen may not know about them all, and that’s why we’re here.”
The Alzheimer’s Association says people are living longer, thus allowing their brains to deteriorate more than they would if they had died years earlier. African-Americans are almost twice as likely and Hispanics are about one and a half times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s Association’s senior director, Maria Carrillo, says there may be a connection between that and the higher rates of diabetes and heart disease seen in those ethnic groups. Carrillo says there is a lack of resources and education that may deter such groups from being aware and taking preventative measures.
Sulkowski says there is an easy way to find out more about the disease and available community services. Just go to www.alz.org.