There's a new way to help stamp out Alzheimer's

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Lois A. Bowers
Lois A. Bowers

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I'm focused on planning get-togethers, decorating, buying gifts and undertaking the other activities that are common at this time of year.

Part of my annual routine includes mailing greeting cards and charitable donations. And I know I'm not alone in such endeavors.

The U.S. Postal Service expects mailing and shipping to pick up next week and for Dec. 18 to 24 to be the busiest week of the year for mailing, shipping and delivery. And just in time for this busyness, the service has released a stamp to raise awareness and research funds for Alzheimer's disease.

Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan dedicated the stamp Thursday in Baltimore. You may recognize the artwork, which depicts an older woman in profile with a hand on her shoulder. According to the Postal Service, the image also was used in 2008 on a $0.42 Alzheimer's Awareness stamp, although the woman pictured was facing the other way.

The new, first-class “semipostal fundraising stamp” costs $0.60, which is $0.11 more than the first-class postage rate of $0.49 for Forever stamps and $0.26 more than the $0.34 first-class rate for postcard stamps. The amount not used to cover postage and “reasonable costs incurred by the Postal Service,” however, will go to the National Institutes of Health, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“NIA is working to identify new genes that affect Alzheimer's disease and their role as risk factors or protective factors, to explore imaging techniques and ways to detect development of the disease well before symptoms appear, to develop and test new therapies, and to test and implement new approaches to providing care and supporting caregivers,” Marie A. Bernard, M.D., deputy director of the NIH's National Institute on Aging, said at Thursday's ceremony. “The new semipostal stamp will both raise awareness of Alzheimer's research and care as well as contribute to the search for effective ways to prevent and treat this heart-breaking disease.”

So as you're preparing your greeting cards and other mail this season (and after the holidays are over), whether you buy stamps at your local post office or online, you now have the opportunity to help lick dementia at the same time.

Lois A. Bowers is senior editor of McKnight's Senior Living. Follow her on Twitter at @Lois_Bowers.

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