-from Blue Ridge Now
Henderson County resident Gary Stammer was part of a group that recently traveled to the state capitol to advocate for services and funding for Alzheimer’s disease.

N.C. State Advocacy Day, hosted by the western and eastern North Carolina chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association, was held March 22 in Raleigh. The day included meetings with state legislators and an advocacy session.

“I advocate for efforts to improve support services and prevent Alzheimer’s disease because of the severe challenges faced by caregivers and patients living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia,” Stammer stated in a news release from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Stammer and other Alzheimer’s advocates shared with elected officials their top priorities, which include:

Supporting House Bill 456, which requires dementia training for all skilled nursing facilities’ direct-care workers.
Expanding home- and community-based services in response to the poor health outcomes that impact caregivers due to stress. The N.C. Alzheimer’s State Plan calls for a 10 percent additional appropriation, bringing the 2018 total to $806,000, and to be increased by an additional 10 percent a year for the next nine years.
Making Alzheimer’s a public health priority in 2018 in North Carolina in response to the large and growing burden of this disease. The group requested a budgetary appropriation of $250,000 to the N.C. Department of Public Health to include Alzheimer’s data on the N.C. Department of Health website, to introduce public health education programs on Alzheimer’s in North Carolina, and to create public awareness campaigns in rural and minority communities.
“NC State Advocacy Day 2018 was a tremendous opportunity for the public and those affected by Alzheimer’s to take action and speak up for the needs and rights of people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families,” Katherine L. Lambert, CEO of the Western Carolina Chapter, stated in the release. “We appreciate everyone who took the time to join us and participate in turning North Carolina purple for Alzheimer’s.”

An estimated 5.7 million Americans, including 170,000 North Carolina residents, are living with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. That number is expected to grow to 16 million by 2050.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease or the Alzheimer’s Association Western Carolina Chapter, visit www.alz.org/northcarolina or call 800-272-3900.