By Senator Deb Fischer (NE)
Recently, actress Marcia Gay Harden testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Ms. Harden is known for her performances in comedies like The First Wives Club and biographies like Pollock. Her appearance before the committee drew attention to a different topic: ending Alzheimer’s.
It was heartbreaking to hear how she has watched her mother’s memories disappear as a result of Alzheimer’s. Tragically, the Hardens are not the only family dealing with this difficult situation.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is predicted to reach nearly 14 million by 2050. My own family has been touched by this disease and I know firsthand that beyond these numbers is a struggle that patients, families, and caregivers face daily.
Addressing the Alzheimer’s crisis is a steep climb. Congress has expanded research, and with additional legislation to address this crisis pending in the Senate, we hope the cure will be easier to reach.
As a member of the Aging Committee, I’m supporting the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. In her testimony, Ms. Harden highlighted the importance of early detection and diagnosis. Right now, the infrastructure needed to increase awareness, education, and analyze the facts on Alzheimer’s and other dementias just isn’t enough. The BOLD Act would expand that infrastructure so that we can make more progress in this fight.
Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, but it’s hardly the only issue affecting our seniors. Telemarketing scammers target older Americans and trick them into handing over their life’s savings or Social Security checks. In an effort to stop these crimes, I have supported two pieces of legislation that are now law.
We’ve all answered a phone call only to hear a pre-recorded voice on the other end. Because of caller ID, you can see from where the call was placed. But there are ways to ‘spoof’ caller IDs, which hides a caller’s true identity and origin. Modern phone technologies allow calls to appear as legitimate institutions like a bank or charity, or coming from a nearby location, but the real identity of the caller is a scammer who is trying to take advantage of the person on the other end of the line.
I led bipartisan legislation that closed loopholes in the legal system allowing falsified caller ID information from calls originating overseas and through text messages. I was also a cosponsor of the Senior Safe Act, which provides protections for individuals who report financial abuse against senior citizens.
On behalf of families in Nebraska and around the country, I am proud to continue my fight for our nation’s seniors in the U.S. Senate.
Deb Fischer represents Nebraska in the U.S. Senate and serves on the Special Committee on Aging.
The opinions expressed in “Congressional Corner” reflect the views of the writer and are not necessarily those of TSCL.