Nov 212013

WASHINGTON, DC – November 20, 2013 – Today, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas spoke on the House Floor to recognize National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. She discussed the tremendous physical, emotional and financial toll this disease can have on a family and called on her colleagues to support prevention and research efforts.

She told the House:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

“One of my constituents, Alan Holbrook of Groton, Massachusetts, lost his wife this year after their family endured an eight year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Bernadette Holbrook was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 57. Alan left his job to lovingly take care of her. He is not alone. For every person with Alzheimer’s, there are approximately two to three others that generously give unpaid care.

“Alzheimer’s is a disease that disproportionately impacts women. Nearly two-thirds of those with the disease are women. And it’s growing. Today, five million people in this country suffer from the disease and it will likely be an estimated 15 million by 2025.

“This disease not only exacts a tremendous physical and emotional toll but also a tremendous financial toll. In 2013, the estimated direct costs just to take care of those with Alzheimer’s were $203 billion dollars.

“Mr. Speaker, for the Holbrooks and the millions of other who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease we must dedicate ourselves towards curing and preventing this disease.”

Holbrook is a volunteer advocate at the Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.