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Support a bill helping those with Alzheimer’s

In Pennsylvania, there are more than 280,000 people living with Alzheimer's, and another 465,000 people providing unpaid care for their loved ones, according to the Alzheimer's Association. I am one of these individuals.

I have spent more than eight years caring for my mother, and I have experienced the disjointed and, frankly, underfunded government support services available. This doesn’t even scratch the surface on the gaps in our health care system that can stymie one’s ability to receive an accurate diagnosis, appropriate care plan and medical support.

Gov. Josh Shapiro has proposed a $1.9 million appropriation to establish Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders infrastructure within the Department of Aging. At present, there is no coordination across the state government to deal with this complex public health crisis. Adequate funding is critical to ensure residents have access to comprehensive and coordinated services necessary to care for a loved one with dementia.

The Medicaid cost of caring for someone with dementia is $3.7 billion, a number expected to rise more than 10% by 2025. There needs to be an appropriately funded Alzheimer's infrastructure to balance the scale, and to support residents — the passage of Senate Bill 840 and the $1.9 million proposed investment will do just that.

I urge Reps. Stephenie Scialabba, Timothy Bonner, Aaron Bernstine and Marci Mustello along with Sens. Scott Hutchinson and Elder Vogel Jr. to join bipartisan efforts to pass this bill — we can’t afford not to.

Steffany McCafferty, Cranberry Township

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