As someone who works in scientific research, I have personally witnessed the devastating impact of neurodegenerative diseases in patients and their families. 

Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects more than 5 million Americans, and 200,000 of these individuals are under the age of 65. Because of their young age, people living with Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s are not eligible for support and service programs available to older Americans. This is a huge issue since patients with younger-onset Alzheimer’s face many challenges in their personal and work lives, and this is further intensified by financial problems. 

The Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act of 2019 (H.R. 1903 / S. 901) would fix this. 

Another bill I wanted to bring up is the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) (S. 2080 / H.R. 647). Nursing home residents with advanced dementia who receive palliative care at the end of life are three times less likely to be hospitalized, as well as 3.2 times less likely to have an ER visit, in the last 30 days of life. 

We need to raise awareness about the benefits of palliative care and do a better job of educating both patients and health care professionals about the available services and supports. 

Nika Juricic, Alzheimer’s Ambassador 

for Congressman Dan Crenshaw, Houston

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