Few people have not been touched by Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia.

Whether it be family, friends or even coworkers that have the disease, dementia brings difficulties to everyone around them, and especially to those people who care for them.

The Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter expanded its efforts this week to raise awareness and money for critical Alzheimer’s research and care initiatives with a tour at the Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care in Minneapolis.

The chapter played host to this educational event as part of its commitment to advocate on behalf of the 97,000 Minnesotans living with Alzheimer’s disease and their 255,000 caregivers.

Wisely, the chapter invited and encouraged attendance by Congressman Tom Emmer, to provide him with a better understanding of research projects being conducted at University of Minnesota, and to experience first-hand how federal funding is used for research initiatives.

Bringing researchers and lawmakers together to focus on Alzheimer’s and its impact on many Minnesotans is crucial in the chapter’s mission to find a cure, said Beth McMullen, Alzheimer’s Association vice president of government affairs.

The association’s advocacy includes urging an increase in the National Institutes of Health funding for Alzheimer’s research to help support the 5.8 million Americans living with the disease.

It’s important, and valuable to us all, that elected officials understand the implications of the decisions they make in Washington.

And it’s especially important that more is known about dementia, as this nation, and this county, face an aging population, which will likely increase the numbers of those impacted, as well as the social costs to us all.

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