As a former caregiver for my Grandmother who lived with Alzheimer’s, I understand first-hand the impact this disease has on families across America. Unfortunately, professionals who care for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias currently receive little or no training in the unique needs of individuals living with the disease. While not often discussed, elder abuse is a serious issue, and even more so for those living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia who aren’t always able to clearly communicate their thoughts. The trauma of elder abuse can result in premature death, the deterioration of physical and psychological health, destruction of social and familial ties, devastating financial loss, and more.
• The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop training materials to assist law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, medical personnel, victims services personnel, and others who encounter and support individuals living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
• Dementia-specific training materials for these professionals will improve the quality of their interactions with individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and will also help protect them from elder abuse.
• The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) and the Alzheimer’s Association strongly support the bipartisan Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, which is led by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04).
I became an advocate with the Alzheimer’s Association when my Grandmother was diagnosed with the disease10 years ago. I am a person who needs to fix things, and there was nothing I could do personally to cure her of this horrific disease. While caring for her then, and now missing her every day, I have devoted my time to being an advocate. I use my voice to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves as well as their families. I use my voice to encourage Congress to ensure we have legislation and funding in place for appropriate care and support, prevention, a cure, and yes, the first survivor!
It is critical that Congress work together in a bi-partisan manner. This is not a red issue or a blue issue. This is a purple issue!
Please join me in thanking Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) for efforts to help protect the more than 5 million American’s living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. We applaud his leadership with this important bipartisan legislation.