Advocates spread awareness at Capitol for Alzheimer’s Association State Advocacy Day

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Governor Jim Justice officially proclaimed February 4th, 2020 as West Virginia Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness Day. This comes after advocates for Alzheimer’s-friendly legislation took to the Capitol.

Advocate Pearl Thompson’s husband is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Caring for him is one of the hardest things she has ever had to do.

“It is nearly impossible. I was the only person, I don’t have any other family here. I was doing it all,” exclaimed Thompson.

After months of little sleep and lack of self care, she decided it was time she needed some help by placing him in a care facility.

“It is the hardest decision in anyone’s life. You feel lots of guilt that you’re deserting your loved ones… you’re throwing them away,” Thompson said.

She, and other advocates, took to the Capitol spread awareness to lawmakers.

“I can sit all day and talk with legislators. But until you hear the story coming first hand from someone who has to sit and care for their loved ones, it really hits home,” said Robby Queen, Alzheimer’s Association.

About 38,000 West Virginian’s have Alzheimer’s and for every affected person, there are two to three individuals serving as caregivers. Advocates are supporting a couple bills this session to improve their circumstances including funding for adult protective services as well as increasing diagnosis.

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