More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, including 29,000 in Maine. Addressing this disease remains a critical issue for our country and state. While nearly everyone is likely to be familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, many people don’t realize that it disproportionately affects older Black and Hispanic Americans. Or that almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.

My wife, Deb, lived with this disease for more than a decade. I watched and cared for her as Alzheimer’s robbed her mind of all ability to care for herself. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. That is why I and so many others around the world advocate to support the patients, the research and the caregivers.

Thankfully, Congress has supported efforts to address the growing Alzheimer’s crisis led by Maine Sen. Susan Collins. Two bipartisan bills, one sponsored by Collins and the other co-sponsored – the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the ENACT Act – could receive consideration in Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions before the end of the year. These bills would further empower our nation to make progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s and ensure prevention, treatment, and – one day – a cure will be effective in all populations.

Please join me in thanking Sen. Collins for her leadership and urging her to work with her colleagues to ensure action is taken on these bills as soon as possible.

Thomas J. O’Connor

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