It’s difficult to imagine forgetting the name and face of a loved one, but more than 5.8 million people nationwide live with this struggle every day because of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is defined as a disease that causes brain cells to waste away and die, and it’s the most common cause of dementia — a continuous, dramatic decline in thinking, which leads to a change in behavior and social skills. The daily lives of millions are altered forever.

While devastating, there is no cure. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to ALZ.org. If a cure is not found, researchers believe 16 million people could have Alzheimer’s disease by 2050.

More than $498 million is federally funded to aid the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, but for every $28,000 the federal government spends on care for Alzheimer’s disease patients, it only spends $100 on Alzheimer’s disease research, according to ALZ.org.

The City of Boaz recently approved a proclamation to designate September as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month to encourage residents to get involved and help defeat the dreadful disease — it’s safe to assume there will be other municipalities to take similar action.

So, join the fight. Visit ALZ.org to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, and see how you can get involved, whether by donating, helping coordinate events or simply advocating.

Our View On the Issue is an opinion of The Reporter’s editorial board that includes Publisher Kim Patterson and Managing Editor Taylor Beck.

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