Alzheimer’s Association Calls For People To Speak Out Feb. 2

January 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

First there were 7,000 purple postcards calling for a state Alzheimer’s plan, sent continuously over the past few months to Governor Deval Patrick. He has not yet responded. Now, the Alzheimer’s Association is stepping up the campaign by rallying advocates for Alzheimer’s Advocacy Action Day, Monday, February 2 at the State House to get backing for legislation to create regulations to assure consistent care in Alzheimer special care units in nursing homes, a Silver Alert to protect adults who wander, as well as an Alzheimer’s State Plan Commission to produce a set of best practices for those who work with and care for persons with dementia.

“We sent thousands of postcards, and now we want hundreds of families and caregivers to join us,” said James Wessler, President/CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, MA/NH Chapter. “We are asking people to bring a photograph of their loved ones with Alzheimer’s because we need to put a face on this disease.”

Some 120,000 people in Massachusetts have Alzheimer’s, but the commonwealth lags behind many other states on issues like regulations for dementia special care units in nursing homes, according to Wessler. Counting family and professional caregivers, the disease directly affects around half a million people in the commonwealth, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates.

The action rally begins at 9:30 at the Grand Staircase, State House, Boston, and continues through noon as advocates descend on legislators’ offices to promote the legislation by telling their own stories.

Speakers include:

– Secretary of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Michael Festa

– Representative John Scibak, 2nd Hampshire and lead sponsor of the Alzheimer’s State Plan Commission

– Representative Peter Koutoujian, 10th Middlesex Chair, Public Health Committee, Sponsor for the Special Care Unit Bill.

– Senator Patricia Jehlen, 2nd Middlesex, Chair of Elder Affairs Committee

– Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, 16th Suffolk, Chair of Elder Affairs Committee, lead sponsor for the Silver Alert bill.

– James Wessler, President/CEO, Alzheimer’s Association, MA/NH Chapter

– Stephen Hume, Wilbraham, has early stage Alzheimer’s disease

– Jack Hornfeldt, Brookline, has early stage Alzheimer’s disease

– Shirley Coffey, West Roxbury , Caregiver

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. In Massachusetts, programs include a 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900, support groups, education offerings for families and training for health care professionals.

The Alzheimer’s Association



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