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District Office
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

Capitol Office
51A East Wing
PO Box 202097
Harrisburg PA 17120-2097
Phone: (717) 787-1776


June Marked Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
by State Rep. Steven Mentzer (R-Lititz)

Late last month, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee held an informational meeting to discuss the Commonwealth’s action’s related to Alzheimer’s disease. Three Lititz residents, Sandy Morris, Sharon Flory and Mary Read, who have all seen first hand the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease traveled to Harrisburg to join the hearing and to advocate on behalf of this issue. I thank them for taking the time to speak with me and my colleagues on this very important issue. Alzheimer’s disease impacts countless families across the Commonwealth, including my family. It is important to know how this disease impacts so many and recognizing early warning signs of this disease.

Over 5 million Americans, including 270,000 Pennsylvanians are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. The disease is impacting more and more people as an estimated 16 million Americans will have the disease in 2050. As the footprint of this disease is widening, each June, across the nation, communities recognize June as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

The disease, often associated with old age, is not a normal part of the aging process. While it is often associated with older people, the disease also impacts younger people who develop “early/younger-onset” Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, meaning that its symptoms worsen over time. During the early stages, symptoms including short term memory loss may be slight, but become debilitating over time.

As the disease is progressive, noticing early warning signs will allow full potential of early treatment and potential relief of symptoms. Here are 10 early warning signs the Alzheimer’s Association recommends you see a doctor as soon as you become aware of the symptoms: memory loss that disrupts daily life; challenges in planning or solving problems including concentration issues; difficulty completing familiar tasks at home during work or leisure; confusion with time or place; trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships; new problems with words in speaking or writing; misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps; decreased or poor judgment and decision making; withdrawal from work or social activities; and changes in mood or personality.

Alzheimer’s disease also impacts families, who spend countless hours caring for their loved ones, often at personal expense. Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease can be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. But you're not alone. In the United States, there are approximately 15 million people caring for someone with dementia. Many families in my district are caring for those impacted by this disease. As there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, and only limited medical treatments available for the symptoms it is critical to find support in the care giving process.

Nationally, Alzheimer’s disease is among one of the costliest chronic illnesses, with nearly an estimated annual health care cost exceeding $236 billion--a figure that will only increase in the years to come.

As we enter the summer months and spend time with friends and family, please be aware of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If you have any questions or concerns about the warning signs, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24-hour helpline at 800-272-3900. Additionally, Mary Read is leading Lancaster County’s first social group for people in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This group will meet the first and third Fridays of the month at St. James Catholic Church in Lititz, to meet and discuss Alzheimer’s disease. Thanks to Mary for all of her efforts to bring awareness and assist those in need.

Representative Steven Mentzer
97th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Eric Reath
717.260.6187 /
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