The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are nearly 600,000 unpaid caregivers for the more than 230,000 Illinoisans living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. These numbers will continue to rise until a cure or prevention is found. We must address the vital needs of these Illinois families and caregivers who face daily emotional, physical and financial challenges from this disease.
As a volunteer advocate with the Alzheimer’s Association, I am committed to making Alzheimer’s a priority in our state because I believe in a world without Alzheimer’s Disease. My history and awareness of this disease began when my grandmother, Mama Judith, was diagnosed. She has always been and always will be a great inspiration in my life; it is for her and for thousands like her that I continue in this fight.
Our state government needs to become actively engaged in the fight against dementia, and I hope my Representative Jaime Andrade, which covers parts of Logan Square, Avondale and Albany Park, will work to be a part of this change.
When the Alzheimer’s Association surveyed 72 Illinois counties last year, they found that an astounding 87 percent of residents who have experience with Alzheimer’s disease felt that the state of Illinois was not spending enough on care services for those affected by the disease. It is time to take action by passing House Bill 2673, legislation that will authorize the creation of a “The End of Alzheimer’s Starts with Me” scratch-off lottery game in Illinois. This legislation would expand the care, support, education, and awareness provided by the Alzheimer’s Association to families and caregivers who need help tackling Alzheimer’s disease.
The best part about this bill is that it would generate private funds—which ensures this initiative doesn’t contribute to Illinois’ fiscal woes. It would also will allow the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter to expand their reach and provide more support to local communities and residents who are experiencing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sponsored by Representatives Michael J. Zalewski and David McSweeney, the bill was filed in February and is now in the House chamber. It was assigned to the Revenue & Finance Committee, which held a hearing on the bill March 7 in Springfield and added Representative Daniel Swanson as another co-sponsor. It moved to the Income Tax Committee for another hearing March 14.
As an Illinoisan and Logan Square resident who has experienced the hardships of this disease, I ask my Representative, Andrade to co-sponsor House Bill 2673 to keep the needs of families and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s at a forefront and help end Alzheimer’s.