Friday, April 12, 2019

$290 billion

 This was not the first time that Paula and I had traveled to Washington to advocate in the nation’s capital on behalf on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. But this time more was as stake. In 2016, most people assumed that Hilary Clinton would be our next president. More important, in terms of health care, Clinton would have continued “Obamacare,” or something very similar. Instead, we got a president who has seemed at times to barely know his own mind. For Paula and me, the stakes couldn’t be higher. And that’s why when Paula spotted Senator Susan Collins, Paula immediately engaged in a discussion about health care. Keep in mind  that Collins is an endangered species: A moderate Republican. That wasn’t the case a generation ago. But over the decades, polarization has taken its toll.
And the real topic in Washington recently was the number of people who advocated on behalf of Alzhiemer’s disease. Under the banner of purple, Republicans and Democrats, engaged with lobbying. Elizabeth Warren made an appearance, but made no political message. At one point, Warren reached out to us with a handshake and a hug.
And if you want to know about everything about Alzheimer’s and other similar diseases, this is where you go: The 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease and Facts and Figures. If you want to get a copy, I suggest you that you reach out to your local Alzheimer’s chapter to
Here is a huge fact: Hours of unpaid Care and Economic value: more than more than $18.5 billion. Why women? The pat answer is, women have always done the dirty work. And I do mean dirty. When my dad was dying at age 86, from congestive heart failure, it struck me that his death was a rather clean death, compared to what I should expect for my own demise. But dying without my marbles is deeply discouraging. But that’s what Alzheimer’s has dealt. And that is no surprise. I am fortunate to be where I am. Sure, I will probably die a dreary death. But, I have been told that Alzheimer’s is a relative painless way to die. And that is probably true. But certainly, it won’t be a noble death, like dying in the battle of Austerlitz. No, we have to move into farce to fully appreciate this disease. Do you see Woody Allen being shot out of a cannon? How clever! The man who fears everything. That’s what living with Alzheimer’s is like. Absolut farce.

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