- Associated Press - Thursday, February 27, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Four years ago, Dennis Moore retired from the House of Representatives, discouraged by relentless partisan bickering.

The former Kansas congressman returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to urge his old colleagues on both sides of the aisle to invest in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disease from which he suffers.

Moore, 68, told a Senate health appropriations subcommittee about the loss of his father to Alzheimer’s, and his own diagnosis in 2011, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/1koavpV ).

“I had become concerned when I noticed I was having some difficulty remembering random events and difficulty managing our household finances,” Moore said. “Since then, I have learned coping skills but still recognize the issue I have with my short-term memory loss.”

Increased funding for Alzheimer’s research, education and support should be a bipartisan goal, Moore said.

“I really think we need to find those areas where we can and should find agreement,” he said. “Good people on both sides work together, and there truly are good people on both sides. This is a disease that is affecting many people around the world. . We need to find a way to really manage it more effectively.”

A former district attorney, Moore served six terms as a Democrat representing Kansas’ 3rd District.

In addition to his advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association, Moore now fills his time by volunteering to play guitar at senior centers and spending time with family. He still drives, using a GPS device just in case he gets lost.

“I’m getting a little bored after having this busy, busy career over the years,” he confessed. “Stir-crazy is a good way to put it.”

At the hearing, Moore read from a prepared statement and answered questions from his former colleagues.

He spoke in personal terms about the economic costs of Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia in older adults. The disease is fatal.

“Not only does Alzheimer’s steal our memories, independence and eventually our ability to function, it demands increasing amounts of care,” Moore told the panel of senators. “Beyond the exhaustion and stress, there is the financial burden. Alzheimer’s is creating an enormous strain on the health care system, families and the federal budget.”

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., asked Moore what he does on a daily basis to keep symptoms at bay.

Moore said he takes medication and exercises daily.

“My wife encourages me to do that and I’m a good husband. I say, ‘Yes dear,’” he said to laughter.

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