The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the lives of all Americans right now, especially those with underlying chronic conditions. This includes people living with dementia.

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. It is a critical time to address dementia-related diseases and their impact on families across America. As caregivers, we understand firsthand the impact of dementia. We advocate for those living with dementia because we recognize issues will not be solved unless voices are heard.

Bringing forward our stories and challenges to our legislators helps to create awareness and to establish policies for those who are vulnerable. Fortunately, Representative (Denver) Riggleman has been a champion in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and all dementia, including co-sponsoring the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (HR1873-116) to improve care planning for those diagnosed with dementia.

Early diagnosis provides individuals opportunities to maximize time spent engaging in meaningful activities, to interact with important people in their lives, and to allow individuals more time to plan while they are cognitively able to make important legal, financial and end-of-life decisions.

It is only through increased awareness and research funding that we will discover new ways to treat Alzheimer’s and other dementia. Please join us in thanking Representative Riggleman’s commitment in the fight to end all dementia.

- Lisa Fournier, ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association, 5th District, Moneta

- Patricia Berkeley, advocate

- Danna Owens, advocate

Read more stories in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services to view articles in the print and/or e-edition version.

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