alzheimers collage 042023SPRINGFIELD – Wearing purple to show their support, Senate Democrats joined advocates during the Alzheimer’s Association’s Week of Action on Wednesday in their effort to bring attention to the needs of those impacted by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that affects the lives of not only those who are diagnosed with it, but their family, friends and loved ones as well,” said State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago). “More than 230,000 people in Illinois are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I am proud to wear purple today to support the effort to end Alzheimer’s and will continue to fight this public health issue.”

Illinois is home to more than 312,000 family members caring for someone with Alzheimer’s — a fatal disease that kills nerve cells and tissue in the brain, affecting an individual's ability to remember, think and plan. During the Week of Action, advocates from the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter work to make Illinois dementia-capable by advancing legislation to train those who care for or interact with someone living with this disease.

“On this day, we bring awareness to Alzheimer’s and all the advocates taking action to put an end to this disease,” said State Senator Mary Edly-Allen (D-Libertyville). “A person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s doubles about every five years for people over the age of 65, so it’s critical that we invest in research against this debilitating disease.”

Senate Bill 216, sponsored by Edly-Allen, would require public guardians to undergo at least one hour of training on how to recognize, care for and interact with patients who have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Currently, Illinois has no basic requirement for training related to Alzheimer’s and dementia for medical personnel, community care staff or direct-care workers. Training public guardians on how to recognize behaviors and respond with empathy and appropriate interventions can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

To learn more about the Week of Action, visit the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter’s website.