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Iowa chapter of Alzheimer's Association supports proposed legislation for better dementia resources

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jan 30, 2023

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — Jessica Duncan is based in Council Bluffs and is part of the Iowa chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

She said two proposed bills in the state's legislature could go a long way toward providing access for dementia patients to the critical resources they need.

It’s both personal and professional for Duncan who is a caregiver to a family member with the disease.

"I used to get calls all the time before even being at the association of: 'What do I do next?'" she said.

On Monday, Duncan along with other advocates from the chapter headed to Des Moines. They're asking state lawmakers to support two proposed bills that would increase support for those living with a dementia diagnosis.

One of the bills would place a dementia service specialist at each of the six area agencies on aging throughout the state. The specialists would help connect families to the resources they need. The other would fortify the existing Alzheimer’s state plan every three to five years.

Duncan said many in the Legislature also identify with the challenges of a Dementia diagnosis.

“One of the things that I always like to know is if each of the legislators have a connection to the disease," Duncan said. "There are quite a few of them who I’ve reached out to today that do.”

There are around 66,000 people in Iowa living with dementia, roughly the size of Council Bluffs, Duncan says having a Dementia Service Specialist could make all the difference for families navigating the disease.

“It will have an impact for the Council Bluffs community," Duncan said. "It will also have an impact for the rural areas as well that might not have a clinician in their town."

She added the resource would be free for Iowans.

The number of those living with dementia is expected to increase in Iowa by more than 10% in the next two years, according to Duncan.

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