Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 15 million Alzheimer’s caregivers. Deaths from this disease have nearly doubled in the last 14 years.

I am grateful that Congress has approved a $400 million increase in Alzheimer’s research funding for fiscal 2017, bringing federal Institutes of Health funding to $1.39 billion.

This is excellent progress toward the $2 billion annual figure needed to sustain a successful outcome in Alzheimer’s research. To continue toward this goal, I encourage Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King, 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree and 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin to support $414 million in funding for fiscal 2018.

Until progress is made, loved ones are going to continue to be lost to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. I watched my mother lose all of her abilities to function in a short number of years and then pass away from this disease. Two more relatives have just died as a result of the cruelty of Alzheimer’s, as well as a dear friend having to go into a nursing home. This is not normal aging!

Please join me as an Alzheimer’s advocate by contacting the Maine Alzheimer’s Association at to learn how to help our state and federal legislators understand what is at stake for our future from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Cathy Walters

Hollis Center