On February 26, I met with State lawmakers as part of the Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Day. I visited Incline's representatives, meeting with staff in Senator Ben Kieckhefer's office and personally with Assemblyman Randy Kirner, whose wife had just lost her mother the day before to Alzheimer's.
Additionally, our team met with Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (Henderson) and Assemblyman Harvey Mumford (Las Vegas). We asked them to support the 29,000 plus Nevadans with Alzheimer's disease and the thousands of family and friends who care for them.
This issue is very personal to me. Although Alzheimer's is perhaps the best known of the dementias, there are more than one hundred varieties.
My mother suffers from Lewy Bodies dementia, the third most common form of the disease. Various misdiagnoses sent our family from doctor to doctor. Sadly, most drugs that are effective at slowing the progress of Alzheimer's cause dangerous side effects or heightened symptoms in Lewy Bodies patients.
Mom's disease is characterized by visual hallucinations, trouble interpreting visual information, delusions, confusion and alertness that varies significantly, and some malfunctions of the autonomic nervous system. While her memory loss is significant, it is less prominent than in other Alzheimer's sufferers I have met.
I hope our legislators will help thousands of families like mine by supporting SB69, AB80 and SB86. We must invest in action against this devastating disease and help families that are in desperate situations.
One in 8 people over age 65 will get Alzheimer's disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the nation. You can take action against Alzheimer's by asking for help or volunteering with the Alzheimer's Association. They can be reached any time, day or night at 1-800-272-3900.
Judith M. Simon