Patt Martin, Livermore

Over 16 million people in our country are family caregivers to someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The disease not only robs those afflicted with the disease of their livelihood, social life, and health, it has similar effects on the entire family. I was a caregiver to my late husband, and we both left our jobs and entered into an isolated and stressful life with limited knowledge of what to do.

Care planning is essential to learning about medical and non-medical treatments, clinical trials, and support services available in the community, which leads to a higher quality of life for all affected. Medicare reimburses providers for care planning. However, too few providers and patients are aware of this benefit.

The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (H.R. 1873) would increase education and outreach to providers about Alzheimer’s and dementia care planning services through Medicare and give clinicians the knowledge and the tools to better help their patients and families living with dementia.

Thanks goes to Rep. Eric Swalwell for co-sponsoring this bill. Now we need his help to ask the House leadership to bring this bipartisan effort to a vote before this Congress concludes.

November is National Family Caregivers Month, so this is a great time to get it done!