My local chapter, Greater Iowa Chapter, of the Alzheimer's Association along with other chapters that have any part of Iowa held their annual advocacy day at our state capitol on Tuesday, February 5, 2013. Everything went very smoothly I thought and it was a good day. The picture at left is me on the far right with Representative Joe Riding (my Representative) in the middle and an advocate also named John from my local chapter whose mother is diagnosed.
We were advocating for a bill this year entitled "Alzheimer's Disease Response Strategy" which is a fairly simple inexpensive bill compared to what it is attempting to make better. It ,in part, calls for the Department of Human Services (state level) to be put in charge of coordinating all services, data and information on Alzheimer's Disease. AD is the 6th leading cause of death in America but is the 5th leading cause in Iowa so it is even more important in my state than it is nationwide which is still of huge importance to every American both from a humanitarian and fiscal standpoint. It is important to have a starting place for people diagnosed and their caregivers to find out what resources are available and reduce duplication while tracking data in a centralized location. Right now someone diagnosed is often given the diagnosis and then left to wonder what now? Many don't even realize the resources and help available from the Alzheimer's Association. Recently quite by chance I met a caregiver that told me of her despair trying to care for her mother in her home without any respite except that which could be done by a daughter. I told her about the Alzheimer's Association Helpline that is 24 hours and has well trained people that can tell her many of the resources available to her. But they can not and should not do some things that is more of a government function so we need a master resource within government to tell them about all resources including the association. The Alzheimer's Association is a non-profit that is solely focused on improving the lives of those diagnosed but is dependent on the generosity of the American people. They do not have a taxpayer budget but yet are the single largest source of private funds for research, one of the things the association thinks (and I agree) is very important to those diagnosed.
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