Dementia – There Ought to Be a Law

  • I'm proud to say that the legislature of my home state of North Dakota will, during this session, be looking at a bill concerning Alzheimer's that, if passed, could become a model for the rest of the country.


     In a letter to the editor published in The Forum and on their Web site In-forum titled, "Landmark proposal for Alzheimer's care," Krista Headland, western N.D. regional director for the Alzheimer's Association and Gretchen Dobervich, eastern N.D. regional director for the Alzheimer's Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter urged North Dakotans to contact their legislators and tell them they want this bill passed.

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    "The  bill ...would give all North Dakotans access to dementia needs assessment, referral to appropriate care and services, and caregiver training to manage disease symptoms and provide care...educational offerings...for communities and for the professionals who serve them."


    Sen. Dick Dever, R-Bismarck, asked North Dakotans, though a statewide letter to the editor last May, to relate their dementia stories and their "wishes related to dementia care and services."


    Many North Dakotans answered the call. Approximately 18,000 North Dakotans have Alzheimer's disease and 17,000 family members are primary caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease. To give you some perspective, North Dakota's population is under 650,000 people.


    Gretchen and Krisa's punchy letter says," If you've ever said "Dementia ... there ought to be a law," now is the time to call and write your legislators to ask them to support House Bill 1043. To read the full letter, click on (Full disclosure: I'm a news researcher and elder care columnist for the newspaper.)


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Published On: January 09, 2009