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Letter: Support resource centers for Alzheimer’s disease

Families and friends of those affected by Alzheimer's

Families and friends of those affected by Alzheimer's hold flowers to signify the role the disease plays in their lives at the Walk to End Alzheimer's at Belmont Lake State Park in West Babylon on Sept. 23. Credit: James Carbone

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America, with care costs this year alone projected to be $277 billion [“Taking on Alzheimer’s,” News, Sept. 24], putting a staggering financial toll on our national economy and the families of those affected.

Despite the growing number of people with Alzheimer’s, it is still not well understood. People don’t realize it’s not just an old person’s disease. It is estimated that as many as half of those who have Alzheimer’s have not been diagnosed because of a lack of awareness of its signs and symptoms, even among health care providers. Families struggle to address the changing behaviors from progressive cognitive loss, often not knowing where to get help. I know this struggle firsthand. My husband was diagnosed at 36, and my children and I cared for him at home for 11 years.

The Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act has been introduced in Congress, and I’m proud that four members of the Long Island delegation in the House are co-sponsors. The legislation would create Alzheimer’s clearinghouses for information and resources. They would promote early detection and diagnosis, implement effective interventions and prevent avoidable hospitalization for those with Alzheimer’s.

Until there’s a cure, we must do everything we can to support families struggling with this horrible disease. This bill is a giant step forward.

Karen Henley, Westbury

Editor’s note: The writer is a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association of Long Island.

Traditional retailers must get creative

Amazon’s business model has other consequences beyond putting brick-and-mortar stores out of business [“Low prices not always a good thing,” Opinion, Sept. 27].

As someone who recently had orthopedic surgery and cannot shop at traditional stores during a long recovery, I’ve found Amazon a tremendous source of relief and independence, as well as nutrition. I can order household items, many with coupons, as well as food, and have them delivered to my door in one day. The items come from major distributors and manufacturers, which profit outside the standard retail model.

Yes, states lose tax revenue and jobs as retail venues close. However, to many of us who are moms, work full time, juggle carpools or are incapacitated by injury and illness, Amazon fills important needs.

The traditional retail model needs to be rethought. This is not a new sentiment. As a former owner of a manufacturing business, I have knowledge of the quirks of retail buying. Rather than attack Amazon, retailers should meet this challenge in a creative and well-thought out manner.

Judith Rosen Lipner, Dix Hills

Long Island needs beds for opioid rehab

“Help addicts, but get answers, too” [Sept. 23], about a treatment program for nonviolent drug offenders in Suffolk County, was a good editorial and a great idea, but it was missing one component: beds.

Recovery experts and practitioners generally agree that addicts ready for rehab see better outcomes in a proven, quality residential setting.

Our civic association got an education months ago when a drug rehab facility was proposed in Blue Point. We knew nothing about the issue, but all we found was controversy, attacks and accusations at the mere mention of “let’s talk about it.”

As a civic leader and an architect-planner, I discovered there’s a very real problem in locating any rehab facility in Brookhaven Town. Town zoning has no place for it.

With a team of credentialed researchers, we’re looking at all large municipalities in Nassau and Suffolk. Our research so far reveals most municipalities have nothing or just forbid them. Suffolk’s Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Education plan is laudable, but may fail without real change in how towns and villages deal with a problem that’s killing an entire generation in this country.

Let’s face it. If we can’t visit family members at a local rehab facility, we will keep visiting local funeral homes. Something has to give.

Ed Silsbe, Blue Point

Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Blue Point Community Civic Association.

Our schools demand leaders with vision

The most vital ingredient for true educational reform is not the war on Common Core, as described in “Education Reform has a way to go” [Editorial, Sept. 19], but skilled administrative leadership.

During my 45-year teaching career in public education, almost all of the 20 principals I worked with were decent, pragmatic professionals. Most were intent on keeping the ship afloat, yet sadly lacked vision about the vast educational potential. A few made the mistake of simply introducing innovations without sufficient follow-through or by imposing changes, resulting in staff resistance.

Consequently, most promising reforms, such as mastery of learning, individualized instruction, etc., were temporary. Boards of education must distinguish between administrative applicants who’ve mastered educational jargon from those who are up to the challenge of visionary leadership and have the determination to make things happen.

Fred Barnett, Lake Grove