On April 9, Alzheimer's advocates from around the country gathered on Capitol Hill to share the word that Alzheimer's is the most expensive disease in America with costs set to skyrocket in the years ahead.

As members of the South Jersey Advocacy Committee of the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter, we were among many advocates from New Jersey and had the chance to meet privately with U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, both D-N.J., U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, and legislative staff from the 1st and 3rd congressional districts. Our mission was to seek co-sponsorship for several pieces of legislation and request support for $200 million for ongoing research to treat and cure Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death for those 65 and older. It kills more people than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined, and it is the only one of the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

Alzheimer's disease is the most expensive condition in the nation. In 2014, the direct cost to our nation of caring for those with Alzheimer's is estimated at $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.

Clearly, Alzheimer's is a bipartisan issue. It affects all of us and does not discriminate. We urge President Barack Obama and members of Congress to put aside damaging partisan politics and focus on finding common ground that will enable us to marshal the resources needed to change the course of this disease for the millions living with Alzheimer's today and the millions more who will face it in the future.

The Alzheimer's Association's toll-free helpline is available 24/7 at 800- 272-3900.

MARY KUBIAK

Egg Harbor Township

LEONARD SMITH

Marmora

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