This Year’s Primary Race: Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About Alzheimer’s?

Martha Snyder Taggart, BrightFocus Editor, Science Communications
  • Science News
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Ken Dychtwald believes there’s something missing in this presidential campaign season, and he’s not talking about courtesy. As president and CEO of AgeWave, a California-based thought leader, he wants to know where candidates stand on aging issues.

“I’ve watched every single minute of every single debate and each time I’ve left thinking, “I must be on a different planet,” he said.

Today, in a national telephone forum, he posed questions for the candidates under five broad areas to help older Americans age more successfully.

Among them: he wants to hear plans addressing the Social Security crisis; long-term care needs; retrofitting housing and communities to promote aging in place; and looming health crises, including Alzheimer’s.

“Diseases of aging could be the financial and emotional sinkhole into which America falls,” Dychtwald said. “We have done much to expand lifespan, but little to expand the healthspan.

“I’ve heard journalist after journalist ask, ‘what is each candidate’s plan to defeat ISIS,’ but no one’s asking about their plan to defeat Alzheimer’s,’ he said, referring to the looming Alzheimer’s epidemic as an issue of highest priority.

“This disease is a horrific disease that will be the blight of the aging world, and we’re not dealing with it,” he said. He added that it’s not only the growing numbers who will be affected, but also the misery it causes, that make Alzheimer’s so devastating.

Ken Dychtwald’s wife, Maddy Dychtwald, author and cofounder of AgeWave, is a member of the BrightFocus Foundation Board of Directors.