Advocating for Alaskans living with Alzheimer's

Nearly 20,500 Alaskans are all too familiar with the toll that Alzheimer’s takes on their loved ones every day. Although new drug trials show promise for treatment, this disease currently has no cure and new diagnoses are being made every day.

While few are unfamiliar with this disease, many don’t know that the signs and symptoms go beyond just memory loss. Individuals may experience personality changes, behavioral changes, sleep cycle changes, and more. As many new treatments are only effective in the early stages of the disease, it’s important to recognize symptoms early to help individuals receive proper care.

Advocacy at the state level may not be the first thing that comes to mind when contemplating how to support the fight to end Alzheimer’s, but it’s one of the most crucial actions we can take in supporting families and finding a cure for this terrible disease.

On Feb. 9, Alzheimer’s Association advocates shared their stories with state officials to gain support on policies that can improve the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s.

In order to recognize the early stages of dementia, it’s vital that Alaskans have access to information about signs and symptoms. Increasing funding to the Dementia Awareness and Healthcare Capacity Program can expand outreach efforts and provide resources to more Alaskans across the state. We urge officials to support $50,000 in funding to this program to increase access to resources caregivers need when caring for loved ones.

In addition to expanding outreach, the inclusion of dementia education in the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program can make a world of difference. When CNAs have the ability to understand the behaviors of those living with dementia, they can address residents’ unique needs and drastically improve the quality of care for their residents.

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most critical public health issues in America. We need your help advocating for Alaskans living with Alzheimer’s. Become an advocate and get involved in the fight to end Alzheimer’s at

Amie Northagen is the communications manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Alaska Chapter.

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