Letter: Show support for dementia bill, fundingIt is estimated that 18,000 North Dakotans have Alzheimer’s disease and 17,000 family members are primary caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s.
It is estimated that 18,000 North Dakotans have Alzheimer’s disease and 17,000 family members are primary caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s. Everyday 35,000 North Dakotans are directly touched by Alzheimer’s disease; this is roughly equivalent to the population of Minot.
Sen. Dick Dever wrote a statewide letter to the editor in May asking North Dakotans to tell him their dementia story and their wishes related to dementia care and services. Sen. Dever, chair of the Interim Committee on Long-Term Care, took your responses back to Bismarck and the committee responded with the creation of House Bill 1043.
This bill calls for the creation, implementation and funding of a dementia care consultation program. If passed into law HB 1043 would give all North Dakotans access to dementia needs assessment, referral to appropriate care and services, and caregiver training to manage disease symptoms and provide care. It would provide for educational offerings on the warning signs and benefits of early diagnosis and treatment for communities and for the professionals who serve them.
If you’ve ever said “Dementia…there ought to be a law” now is the time to call and write your legislators to ask them to support House Bill 1043. Join us at the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Rally on Thursday at the Capital in Bismarck at noon. It is an opportunity to be part of telling and showing the Legislature the support for this landmark legislation.
House Bill 1043 is landmark legislation not only in that it is a direct investment in the people of North Dakota but it will also serve as a precedent-setting model for other states also looking to tackle the heath care epidemic of the 21st century — Alzheimer’s disease. There ought to be a law and we want it to happen here.
Krista Headland, Western North Dakota Regional Center director and Gretchen Dobervich, Eastern North Dakota Regional Center director