A lot has changed since 2000. America has had five Presidential elections, the iPhone was invented, we’ve faced a financial crisis and social media has become a mainstay in American life. 

In that same timeframe, we’ve seen incredible breakthroughs in cancer treatments, and thanks to medical advancements, deaths from heart disease have decreased nearly 10 percent. Unfortunately, since 2000, the death rate for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has increased a staggering 145 percent. June represents Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, honoring the estimated 5.8 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, including more than 110,000 Missourians. As the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States Alzheimer’s is a public health crisis with no prevention, treatment or cure. It currently affects one in ten senior citizens, and sadly Alzheimer’s cases will continue rapidly increasing as our aging population grows. 

It is estimated that over the next thirty years, nearly 14 million Americans could be affected by Alzheimer’s.

In our state, more than 300,000 family and friends are providing care to those suffering from the disease. Across the nation, it is estimated that caregivers are providing more than 18.5 billion hours of care. 

As your congressman, I’m a proud advocate of legislation that supports the needs of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and working to provide resources to advance critically important medical research.

Among other bills, I am a cosponsor of the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, sponsored by Congressman Paul Tonko (NY). 

This legislation adds requirements under the Medicare program to conduct education and outreach about available care planning services for people with Alzheimer’s disease. 

This includes additional education for physicians, physician assistance, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives. Care providers must be aware of the most up to date care planning information in order to best serve Alzheimer’s patients in Missouri and across the nation. 

Every year during the appropriations process I also support strong funding for Alzheimer’s research through the National Institute of Health.  This month, I hope you take this opportunity to honor the brave Missourians fighting Alzheimer’s, the families who are supporting them, the more than 316,000 caregivers in our state and those who have tragically lost their lives. 

Over the last nineteen years, our world has drastically changed. With the support of my Congressional colleagues and Americans across the nation we can increase the quality of life for millions, while seeking a cure for this horrible disease over the next nineteen. Together we can fight this relentless disease and #EndALZ.

For more information please visit ALZ.org/GreaterMissouri or called the Alzheimer’s Association helpline at 800-272-3900. As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573) 635-7232 Washington, Missouri. (636) 239-2276), or Wentzville (636) 327-7055 with your questions and concerns.

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