To the Editor,

There are many unique challenges and needs when caring for a loved one with dementia. With a progressive disease, the caregiving journey often feels like you’re putting out fires and reacting rather than being able to plan for the best way to care for a loved one. As a former caregiver for my father who had frontotemporal dementia, I understand how complicated it is to navigate the maze of health care and support services.

Over the course of three years, our family was shuffled from one specialist to the next just trying to receive a diagnosis. Living in a rural community, we were unaware of services available for my father and for myself as a caregiver. My father’s quality of life would have been so much better if we had not spent so much time trying to find support for the unique needs of a dementia patient. We felt very much alone and unsupported by the healthcare system. 

Thankfully, the Alzheimer’s Association has introduced two pieces of legislation that can better support caregivers and families affected by the disease. First, the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act would streamline health care options for those living with dementia and their caregivers, reducing costs and improving the quality and delivery of care. Second, the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act would provide grants to expand training and support services to offer much-needed relief to the more than 11 million dementia caregivers across the nation.

Knowing that other families would have access to vital support services through these bills if they pass is the reason I’m calling on my Congressperson to support. Please join me in asking Senator Mitch McConnell to cosponsor and pass the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act and Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act. Together, we can build a dementia capable Kentucky and nation.

 

Caitlin Dunworth

Richmond

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