INDIANAPOLIS — Volunteer advocates from across the state will urge lawmakers to pass House Bill 1542 during the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter’s State Advocacy Week, Feb. 1 – 5. The bill would establish a state dementia coordinator responsible for developing a dementia plan.
Indiana is one of only a few states across the country with no current state dementia plan. Without one, the state could lose out on federal funding through the BOLD (Building Our Largest Dementia) Infrastructure Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 21, 2018. Dementia costs the state more than $1 billion a year in Medicaid alone, a figure that is expected to rise as more Hoosiers develop the disease and as a result of COVID-19.
“The pandemic has exposed issues that leave people with dementia particularly vulnerable,” said Natalie Sutton, executive director, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter. “Both professional and unpaid family caregivers already faced incredible challenges in caring for this population. Those challenges only increased as a result of infection control protocols, staffing limitations, the closure of respite care locations and social distancing from family and friends who typically provide support. This legislation was urgently needed even before the pandemic, and it is even more necessary now.”
House Bill 1542 would also ensure that all first responders receive adequate dementia training. It is authored by Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver).
Due to the pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Association’s State Advocacy Week will be held virtually. The schedule of events is as follows:
- Monday, Feb. 1, at 6 p.m. ET
Virtual Opening Ceremony featuring a statement by Governor Eric Holcomb, guest speaker Rep. Manning and stories from Hoosier families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia
- Wednesday, Feb. 3 (All Day)
Virtual Day of Action
Advocates will reach out to legislators via phone, email and social media.
- Friday, Feb. 5, at 12 p.m. ET
Virtual Thank You Celebration featuring Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville) and a panel of volunteer advocates
Registration is free and available at bit.ly/AlzINadvocacy2021.