WMass residents head east for Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

WMass residents head east for Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Western Massachusetts residents joined others from across the state for a rally in Boston Tuesday to urge legislators to do more in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

A Boston-bound bus headed for the steps of the State House today as two dozen local residents joined advocates and local lawmakers in a continued fight for state support to fight Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia or memory loss.

"This is not a disease that people want to talk about, but we need to bring it to the forefront because there are so many people that are living with this disease," said Grace Barone with Keystone Commons in Ludlow.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, nearly six million Americans are living with Alzheimer's right now.  Of those, two-thirds of them are women.

It's also the sixth leading cause of death nationwide and doesn't have a cause or a cure.

"As a woman in her 50s, that frightens me.  That could be anyone of us," Barone added.

The goal of the trip is to raise awareness about the disease in hopes of receiving more funding from the state to help both those impacted now, and those who might be in the future.

A key part of that support would be the passage of a bill making its way through the State House, which would create a statewide plan to maximize resources in the fight against Alzheimer's with proper medical education, better patient care, and minimum training standards for social workers.

There were people that have been personally impacted by this disease that made the trip today, who want nothing more then to help others before it's too late.

"It's the most painful thing to see, that she's trying to communicate, but the words can't come out," said Joy Danita-Allen of Springfield.

Danita-Allen struggled to describe what day to day life was like as her mom battled Alzheimer's, a 10-year battle that doesn't have a happy ending.  She told Western Mass News the best thing we can do right now is care for loved ones like they would for you.

"A special support where everyone can get the kind of support that's needed for someone to care for a loved one with Alzheimer's," Danita-Allen noted.

More information on Bill H. 4116 can be found here.

More information on the Massachusetts chapter of the Alzheimer's Association can be found here and more information about Tuesday's Advocacy Day can be found here

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