Former Justice Asks Congress for Alzheimer's Aid
NOAH ADAMS, Host:
There was a hearing today on Capitol Hill that did not feature generals or cabinet secretaries, or even bitter debate. But this meeting of the Senate Special Committee on Aging did draw a big crowd.
ADAMS: As I look out across this hearing room and see the number of people here, I don't believe I've ever witnessed as many people at a hearing in the five, six years that I've been in the United States Senate, which certainly speaks... Yes.
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ADAMS: That was Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina.
NORRIS: The topic was Alzheimer's, and the hearing room grew very quiet for the first witness, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
ADAMS: I'm here in the position of being a caregiver. My beloved husband, John, suffers from Alzheimer's. He's had it for a long time now and he's not in very good shape at present. And so, I have some appreciation for the depth of feeling that you have, that's generated the interest and the people who are in this room today. You magnify that.
ADAMS: O'Connor left the court two years ago and moved her husband into assisted living in Phoenix, Arizona, near their children.
NORRIS: A private person, O'Connor said research in to Alzheimer's will take time and money, but it's worth it.
ADAMS: If you can just shave off by five years the onset of Alzheimer's, broadly speaking, think of the money you'd save nationally on health care. I mean, it's just - it's incredible. So, everything you're doing is worth it, and it does take a staggering toll on the family and the caregivers. I can certainly attest to that.
ADAMS: O'Connor appeared alongside other high-power witnesses, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He said his sister-in-law's mother suffers from Alzheimer's. The room was especially taken by the former justice.
NORRIS: She advocated banning discrimination against people at risk for diseases like Alzheimer's, people like her own sons. And she concluded with this.
ADAMS: I just thank you for focusing on this and for sharing your own personal experiences with it. I - they're heartrending, as everybody in this room can tell you. Thanks.
U: Thank you very much, Justice O'Connor.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)
ADAMS: Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, today on Capital Hill, to focus attention on Alzheimer's Disease.
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