Alzheimer’s Doesn’t Only Affect the Elderly
Alzheimer’s disease is not just a disease of old age (“Forget Me Not,” Feb. 28).
Approximately 5% of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As a caregiver and advocate for my husband who passed away from the disease seven years ago at the age of 52, I understand firsthand the impact this disease has on loved ones.
Alzheimer’s is a devastating illness at any age, but it brings added difficulties when it strikes young. My husband — our household’s breadwinner — lost two jobs in the prime of his career as the result of his cognitive decline, resulting in lost income and health care coverage. Though we had saved wisely, we anticipated that costs for his care would derail our plans to pay for our daughters’ college educations. One university was responsive to our request for aid while the other did not consider it a reason to provide financial assistance. Many care facilities are ill-equipped or unwilling to manage difficult behaviors when they inevitably arise, and this can be especially so with younger-onset residents. Being otherwise physically healthy and active, my husband was not always treated as the ill person he truly was. One dementia care facility tried to prevent his return from the emergency room after an altercation with another resident; the nurse at that facility referred to the other party as “my patient” as though my husband was not also under her care.
Those with dementia under age 60 have not been eligible for benefits under the Older Americans Act, which since 1965 has provided support to seniors by organizing and delivering meals, in-home services, transportation, legal services, abuse prevention, and caregiver support. The Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 — the law that reauthorizes the OAA — includes the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act, which addresses the gap in care and services for those with dementia under age 60, finally allowing them to access vital OAA-funded programs and services.
By working to include key provisions of the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act in the OAA Reauthorization, Representative John Sarbanes is making it possible to address the gap in critical support and services for those living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Please join me in thanking Representative Sarbanes for his track record of helping people under age 60 with Alzheimer’s to access services and for being a champion in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease. Please also join me in thanking Senator Chris Van Hollen for his co-sponsorship and Senator Ben Cardin for his support in the Senate.
To learn how you can get involved in the fight to end Alzheimer’s, visit https://alz.org/maryland.
– Miriam Lupien, Baltimore
We Are Glad to Be a Part of This Story
My name is Wayne Grooters, president of Sovereign Medical, Inc. Sovereign Medical is the medical sales distribution company referred to in this article (“Hagerstown Rabbi Helps Secure Ventilators,” (May 1), and Michael Mendez is our clinical specialist that Rabbi Plost is working with, who will be providing the training education.
We are very appreciative of the business, but more importantly, I was moved by Rabbi Plost’s story. Rabbi Plost’s research was the key. Percussionaire’s percussive ventilation technology is truly unique from any other. The TXP5 and VDR ventilators are ideally suited for patients suffering from this dreaded virus, as well as other diseased states. As Rabbi Plost and Michael pointed out, these ventilators break down the secretions, remove them while, at the same time, protecting the lung and providing additional ventilatory support.
-Wayne Grooters, Hillsborough, N.C.