RAISE Act is crucial for Alzheimer’s care | Letter to the editor

Caregiving is an emotionally, physically and financially draining role. I have been one of those caregivers. For 7 years I lovingly cared for my husband as his health deteriorated. In the

For seven years, I lovingly cared for my husband as his health deteriorated. In the end, there is not only the personal heart-wrenching grief, but there is a whole spectrum of painful losses. Across Washington

Across Washington state, there are more than 335,000 people providing unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. In 2016, caregivers provided an estimated 382 million hours of care valued at $4.8 billion. Without those millions of hours provided by unpaid caregivers, the drain on our health care system would be even more costly. The projected Medicare and Medicaid costs for tending to those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias for 2017 is projected to be $259 Billion!

The projected Medicare and Medicaid costs for tending to those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias for 2017 is projected to be $259 billion!

I am advocating for the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, now moving through the U.S. Senate as S 1028. This bipartisan bill would provide needed support to our nation’s caregivers. Endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association, it would facilitate the creation of a national strategy to address the many issues facing caregivers: education and training, long-term care and support services, and financial stability and security.

The RAISE Family Caregivers Act is consistent with the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. From firsthand knowledge, caring for someone with progressive dementia is an exhausting 24-hour-a-day responsibility. As the disease takes its toll, the caregiver needs to be a person with diverse training and support.

Please join me in thanking Sen. Patty Murray for voting for the RAISE Act in committee and in urging Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer to support this needed legislation in the coming months.

Madeleine Fraley

Port Orchard

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