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Senator Dick Durbin on Alzheimer’s: We need to hear your stories

Richard Harris, Next Avenue 

A report presented at this week’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, D.C. put it bluntly: More than 28 million boomers will develop Alzheimer’s by mid-century and the cost of their care will eat up a quarter of all Medicare spending in 2040.

A few blocks away, The Atlantic held a forum to address what to do about our nation’s costliest disease. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the Senate’s bipartisan task force on Alzheimer’s, told the gathering that he recommends taking a page from the late Jack Valenti, the former LBJ aide who headed up the Motion Picture Association of America. “He always put six words in his speeches: ‘Let me tell you a story...’ How many stories do we have in this room?” Durbin asked, knowing he was speaking to a group of motivated caretakers and advocates desperate for a treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s. “Make sure your member of Congress or a trusted aide hears those stories,” Durbin advised.

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