Advocates bring awareness to Alzheimer’s disease at State House

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A group of western Massachusetts volunteers went to the State House to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.

A group of western Massachusetts residents came to the State House Tuesday for Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day.

The event focused on pending legislation to support individuals living with Alzheimer’s, their families, and caregivers.

“People are not being diagnosed on time, they don’t know of resources that are available,” said Judy Nicoll of Ludlow. “I had a course last year, which was like five years too late on how to deal with this.”

Springfield Alzheimer’s Advocate Catherine Williamson stressed the importance of Alzheimer’s research, education, and awareness.

She’s hoping the legislature provides funding for hospitals, caregivers and social workers to deal with a growing healthcare crisis.

“Springfield, unfortunately, has twice the incidents and twice the rate of cognitive impairment for individuals from 65 and older in Massachusetts as a whole,” Williamson told 22News.

Alzheimer’s advocates said the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s and Dementia Act would help tens of thousands of families dealing with dementia.

“Another big part of this bill is professional education and training, specifically for doctors, nurses in our medical community to be able to diagnose and understand Alzheimer’s and dementia in a more on the concerted way,”  Daniel Zotos, a member of the Alzheimer’s association told 22News.

Zotos said that 50 percent of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are not diagnosed.

The House passed the bill unanimously on January 31.

The Senate will take it up this summer.

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