I joined 200 advocates at the Annual Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day on March 4 in Sacramento to meet with California’s legislators in their offices to support needed services for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
A total of 5.6 million Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s. In California, the figure is about 630,000 and will double to more than 1.2 million in 15 years. It’s the fifth-leading cause of death in California. About 1.5 million Californians provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or another forms of dementia.
I have lost many relatives to Alzheimer’s disease, including my mother, who lived in our home the last eight years of her life. We were fortunate to receive emotional support from our local Alzheimer’s programs and from residential care facilities providing respite for us.
Our team met with Assembly members Susan Eggman and Jim Frazier to support three specific bills designed to enhance services: (1) AB 1570 requires that those providing care in facilities possess a uniform core of knowledge about managing Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia; (2) SB 940 protects the legal rights of individuals and families by establishing proper appointment of a conservator; and (3) AB 1552 ensures the continued provision of comprehensive, quality care in 260 community-based care programs, in danger of losing funding this summer.
Keeping these programs open reduces the cost of caring for the average Medi-Cal/Medicare enrollee in a nursing home by 9-to-1 ($83,364 to $9,312), according to the California Medicaid Research Institute.
If you or someone you know is seeking support, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900. Please show your support by becoming an Alzheimer’s advocate today: Visit www.alz/org/advocacy and call your representative.
Alzheimer’s Association Advocate volunteer