To the Editor:
As the nation works to respond to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to ensure the most vulnerable populations remain a priority for our state leaders.
This remains a particular challenge for the more than 230,000 Illinoisans living with Alzheimer’s, their 587,000-plus caregivers, and many others impacted by this disease.
I am personally impacted by Alzheimer's, as my father passed away 2 years ago from the disease, I am an owner of Avonlea Cottage in Dixon, a memory care home for up to 20 seniors living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and an employer to 20 plus “heroes” who care for our residents.
Today I write to thank Rep. Tom Demmer for considering the critical needs of people impacted by dementia during the extraordinary legislative session. The Legislature passed three important items:
1. A 15% increase in funding for home and community-based services provided through the Community Care program.
2. A 1-year renewal of the scratch-off lottery ticket benefiting Alzheimer’s care and support.
3. Reauthorization of $10 million in Alzheimer’s research funding.
These are important steps that will support people living with dementia currently, and those who may face this disease in years to come.
While we are proud of the steps already taken, we need to do more to protect residents of assisted living and long-term care facilities who have been impacted by COVID-19.
I urge policymakers to fully implement the recommendations of the Alzheimer’s Association to increase investment in research, enhance medical care, and improve support of our facilities.
Rep. Demmer, thanks for continuing to work together to protect our most vulnerable during these challenging times.