Senator Hwang Joins Alzheimer’s Association Advocates, Bipartisan Legislative Colleagues to Support Crucial Legislation

March 21, 2024

Senator Hwang Joins Alzheimer’s Association Advocates, Bipartisan Legislative Colleagues to Support Crucial Legislation

HARTFORD – Senator Tony Hwang joined Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen Emily Anastasio, a bipartisan group of legislators, and Alzheimer/dementia awareness advocates promoting awareness about these harrowing diseases. This coalition met at the state capitol Wednesday, March 20th to speak to other advocates about their legislative priorities, promoting certain policies that would greatly benefit both patients and caregivers.

Over 80,000 Connecticut residents live with Alzheimer’s, with twice as many caregivers. Many of these caregivers are unpaid family members who spend incredible amounts of time and energy providing comprehensive care to their loved ones. SB 244: An Act Expanding Access to the Alzheimer’s Disease Respite Care Program aims to increase funding to the program to better support Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, as well as their caregivers. Presently, the program can cover expenses up to $7,500 annually, with a cap of 30 days for out-of-home respite care. This bill would direct the commissioner of social services to seek additional federal funding for this essential program.

Advocates also supported SB 307, An Act Concerning Medicaid Coverage of Biomarker Testing. These biomarkers are crucial to early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. This diagnosis allows patients to get treatments early on that will greatly slow the progression of the disease, giving them critical time to plan their future and access other supports.

“Alzheimer’s Disease takes a significant toll not only on those who have it, but on family caregivers as well. I am committed to doing everything in my power to pass this important legislation that reduces burdens on caregivers and encourages early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. We can make a great impact here to those that need it most.” Said Senator Hwang.

“The passage of the biomarker bill is so important. Early diagnosis leads to better treatments. We also need to ensure that we are taking care of both patients and caregivers. Caregivers can develop adverse mental and physical health effects from being round-the-clock caregivers, which ends up being a double-hit on the family. This is why respite care and a network of support is so important.” Said Alzheimer’s Association Executive Director Ginny Hanbridge.

“People are being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s younger and younger. Early diagnosis must be supported and encouraged. I saw firsthand the impact it had on both my great-grandmothers who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We have to raise awareness for the mental health issues caregivers face, as well as the needs of the patients.” Said Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen, Emily Anastasio. Emily is 19 years old and attends Springfield College. Her Miss Connecticut advocacy platform is centered on awareness of Alzheimer’s and how it impacts both patients and caregivers.