Become Involved in Alzheimer's Advocacy
As we start the New Year, everyone starts thinking about resolutions. How will we improve life going into 2007? What changes need to be made? What steps need to be taken in order to reach these goals?
One potential resolution is to step into a leadership role to encourage additional funding for Alzheimer’s disease research and programs. The Alzheimer’s Association reported that the 2006 session of Congress ended after lawmakers failed to agree on the 2007 federal budget, which includes bills that fund Alzheimer’s research and care programs. Congress did pass a temporary agreement to maintain level funding for Alzheimer programs until Feb. 15, 2007.
So how should we do this? First of all, start educating yourself on Alzheimer’s research and programs. Find out what the current knowledge is about what works, what doesn’t, and what holds promise.
Ask your loved one’s doctor for suggested reading materials to help you learn more.
- Check out the Alzheimer’s Association’s Web site.
- Sign up for the HealthCentral Alzheimer's newsletter and listservs on Alzheimer’s disease that share breaking news.
- Visit our message boards and start a conversation.
Secondly, find out who your federal and state representatives and senators are. Start writing letters to them about the importance of adequately funding programs and research concerning Alzheimer’s disease. Provide them with facts and figures, as well as stories about why legislative action is so important.
Thirdly, contact your local Alzheimer’s support group. Work with these people who have this same cause to develop ways to increase awareness. By working with other people, you’ll have an opportunity to increase your visibility through a combined effort and a stronger voice. Consider posting your findings in the HealthCentral message boards.
Fourth, contact your local media to suggest stories about Alzheimer’s disease in your area. You might suggest a series – one story could focus on adult day care, another story could recount a person’s battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and yet another story can share the issues that the caregiver faces in taking care of Alzheimer’s patients.
Finally, contact state and national media to thank them when they run stories on Alzheimer’s disease. Encourage further coverage of these issues in future stories.
Taking an advocacy role isn’t easy. It takes time out of our busy days (especially if you are in the caregiver’s role). Still, it takes all of our voices to bring attention to this important issue – and to make sure that our loved ones’ battles with this terrible disease do not occur in vain.
Published On: January 05, 2007