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Advocates ask Ga. lawmakers for $1.25M to improve dementia care, support

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Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 11:52 AM EST
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(WALB) - Alzheimer’s advocates are asking Georgia state lawmakers to allocate money to make life a little easier for those with the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association of Georgia is asking state lawmakers to spend $1.25 million to hire 12 dementia care specialists.

Linda Davidson is the executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter.

“It’s patterned after a very successful dementia care specialist program in Wisconsin,” Davidson said.

She said the Wisconsin program has helped improve the lives of people with dementia and lower the burden on their caregivers.

Linda Davidson is the executive director of the Alzheimer's Association Georgia Chapter.
Linda Davidson is the executive director of the Alzheimer's Association Georgia Chapter.(WALB/Zoom)

“We know that the impact is, as you would say, draining the system and the staff that are in place, so we’re trying to provide that help right here in Georgia,” Davidson said.

The association wants lawmakers to fund a “dementia care specialist” position at each of the state’s 12 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).

“It’s really so these AAAs that are well-founded in every one of those areas, they could hire someone that was dedicated,” she said.

They’d be to helping with case management, giving tips and support and educating the community.

“The cost of care for someone that has Alzheimer’s is great, so a lot of families are caring for someone in their home,” Davidson said.

Davidson said every dementia case is different, which is why she believes Georgia needs this.

“Meeting with the family. Determining what is actually happening with that family. What are their resources? What do they need? Coming up with a plan just for that individual,” she said.

The association wants lawmakers to fund a "dementia care specialist" position at each of the...
The association wants lawmakers to fund a "dementia care specialist" position at each of the state's 12 Area Agencies on Aging, like the SOWEGA Council on Aging. (WALB)

Davidson said the response from lawmakers has been positive so far, but there are still obstacles because a lot of causes in the state need money.

“There are legislators out there that understand our needs, and I think it comes down to the budget and finding the money to make it happen,” Davidson said.

This proposal is not included in the current copy of the governor’s budget proposal, but Davidson said they are hopeful lawmakers will add it during the current session.

The Alzheimer’s Association said more than 150,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia in Georgia alone.

To find the Area Agency on Aging that serves your county, click here.

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