The past week has been historic for the fight to end Alzheimer’s in our community. On Oct. 26, the Alzheimer’s Association kicked off its inaugural Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Ridgecrest. As a member of the volunteer walk committee, I joined nearly 200 participants who raised more than $30,000 towards Alzheimer’s care, support and research. State Sen. Shannon Grove and Assemblyman Vince Fong demonstrated the importance of our cause by commemorating the walk with a certificate of recognition.

But that’s not all! The House of Representatives passed two extremely important pieces of legislation. It reauthorized the Older Americans Act, which for the first time would provide supportive services for those experiencing Alzheimer’s disease under the age of 60-years-old, benefiting 200,000 individuals in our country and their families. The House also passed the Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act, which would increase the availability and quality of care by establishing palliative care and hospice workforce training programs.

While I am so grateful for the action taken by the House, there is so much more to be done to address the public health crisis presented by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. That’s why I’m calling on my Rep. Kevin McCarthy to co-sponsor the Improving HOPE Act, which would improve access to health care planning at any stage of the disease. As House minority leader, his support on this bipartisan legislation would help address the second-leading cause of death in California.

Susan Bodnar, director of senior services