Tuesday letters: Alzheimer’s help, wolf facts
Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s
Today, 73,000 Coloradans are living with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Last year, 252,000 of their family members and friends provided 287 million hours of unpaid care to support their journey living with the disease. I witnessed what being one of those caregivers did to my parents for 10 years. November is National Family Caregivers Month. Congress should honor dementia caregivers by making their efforts easier.
Care planning allows people with dementia and their families to plan for the future and learn about clinical trials and support services in their community. Individuals receiving dementia-specific care planning have fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits and are better able to manage their medications. This not only helps the person with dementia, it also lowers health care costs.
Thankfully, Medicare covers care planning services. The problem is that most people don’t know that. The Act (HR 1873/S 880) would help educate health care providers about this coverage so that they can help connect more people to these services.
Thank you Sen. Michael Bennet and Congressman Scott Tipton for standing up for Colorado’s dementia caregivers by actively supporting this legislation in Congress. I hope Sen. Cory Gardner joins you soon. Caregiving is hard. Thanks for trying to make it a little easier.
Alzheimer’s ambassador, Carbondale
Commissioners wrong about wolves
In their Nov. 4 anti-wolf resolution, Garfield commissioners express many of the misgivings I heard during the preparation of the environmental impact statement on restoring wolves to the northern Rocky Mountains 25 years ago. Fortunately, we now have decades of data that respond to those concerns. For instance, the commissioners see wolf predation as a serious problem for wildlife (game). Here are elk harvest figures for the tri-state area since wolf restoration there.
Wyoming: 1995 elk population = 103,448; 1995 elk harvest = 17,695.
2017 elk population = 104, 800 (31% over objective); 2017 elk harvest = 24,535, average hunter success rate = 35%;
Montana: 1995 elk population = 109,500, no harvest data for 1995.
2018 elk population = 138,470 (27% over upper objective); 2017 elk harvest = 30,348,;
Idaho: 1995 elk population = 112,333; 1995 elk harvest = 22,400.
2017 elk population = 116,800 (18 elk units at or above objective, 10 units below for a variety of reasons including predation, human harvest, agriculture, habitat degradation); 2017 elk harvest = 22,751.
Bottom line: In all three states where wolves were restored in 1995-96, statewide elk populations have grown, and harvests have increased.
Predation by wolves on domestic livestock is hardly a threat to the industry. Here are the actual data from a 2015 report.
There were about 6 million cattle in the northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) in 2014. The 140 cattle taken by wolves made up 1 in 43,000, or 0.000023% of cattle in the states.
There were about 825,000 sheep in the NRM in 2014. The 172 sheep taken by wolves made up 1 in 4,800, or 0.000208% of sheep in the states.
On human safety: From 1995 to 2018, Yellowstone hosted 101,070,722 visitors, none of whom was injured by a wolf. Among 2.7 million tent campers in Yellowstone from 1995 to 2018, no camper was injured by a wolf.
Norman Bishop, Bozeman, Montana
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