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INDIANAPOLIS–A bill that aims to better spot and treat Alzheimer’s and dementia early on in patients in Indiana passed out of the House Public Health Committee Tuesday morning.

The bill was authored by Representative Gregory Porter (D-Indianapolis). He says loved ones deserve the best quality care.

“My bill would allow 15 area agencies on aging to employ a dementia care specialist to make early, critical interventions, help individuals stay in their homes and result in better quality of life at every stage of Alzheimer’s and dementia. I will continue advocating for this bill as it moves through the legislative process,” said Porter.

Under this program, dementia care specialists would provide community education and help connect caregivers with resources. The Alzheimer’s Association believes this program would cost about $1.5 million per year over a two year period. A similar program has yielded more than $39 million in long-term savings in North Dakota.

Victoria Faber, advocate with the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter, says this will be extremely helpful for everybody.

“I think one thing that gets overlooked a lot is the caregiver burden. These people are dealing with Alzheimer’s, but they’re also placing a very big caregiver burden on their families. This bill helps ease that burden,” said Faber.

Faber urges you to be on the lookout for what could be early indicators of Alzheimer’s.

“It can be different for everybody, but things like getting lost while driving, forgetting phone numbers, having trouble with bills, things like that. It can be a small thing that people might want to sweep under the rug, but those can be signs that may mean it’s time for those patients to undergo testing,” said Faber.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb also spoke at the Statehouse about Alzheimer’s on Tuesday.

“The choice to support the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana chapter during Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day at the Statehouse is personal. Raising awareness and advocating for better support is just one way we can show our support for the many #Hoosiers affected by this heartbreaking disease,” said Holcomb on Twitter.

The Association says 110,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in Indiana. 11.2% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.

The bill still has a long way to go to become law.