I wanted to submit this letter to The Westerly Sun to thank several of our local legislators and community leaders in the Westerly and Chariho area for attending the recent Community town hall conversation on cognitive health held at the Westerly Library.
Leaders such as Richmond Town Council member Nell Carpenter, Richmond Police Chief Elwood Johnson, Dennis McGinity of the Richmond Senior Services Activities Committee, Westerly Police Officer Anthony Alicchio, and Hopkinton Town Councilors Barbara Capalbo and Sharon Davis have shown their commitment to supporting those in the local communities affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia by attending the community conversation. Their participation and engagement with those residents and other professionals in the area should be commended and acknowledged.
Over 23,000 Rhode Islanders have Alzheimer’s disease, while there are over 53,000 caregivers that support them. Through legislation, increased awareness and community and civic action, more individuals will receive the resources they need.
Alzheimer’s is the fifth-leading cause of death in Rhode Island, and it will possibly be first by 2050 based on current trajectories. The time for action is now, and our community officials are helping to take the lead.
The writer is the director of public policy for the Alzheimer Association Rhode Island Chapter.