Missouri Alzheimer's Association hosts Memory Day at the capital

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JEFFERSON CITY - Legislators at the capitol are discussing ways to more effectively treat Alzheimer's Wednesday morning.

The Missouri Alzheimer's Association hosted their "Memory Day" to help create awareness of Alzheimer's issues.

"I always say it's not a red-issue or a blue-issue, it's a purple issue. It's for our families that we really care about, and so going to Memory Day - it's huge," Lucy Tran Williams, the Public Policy Manager of the Missouri Alzheimer's Association, said.

The day is an opportunity for those with the illness to sit down with policy makers and discuss how to best care for those suffering with Alzheimer's. Williams said it's important to use the day to spread the truth about the disease to both the public and elected officials.

"I feel like we need to be very proactive, and do things now," Williams said.

The Alzheimer's Association research shows that by the year 2023 the total number of Alzheimer's cases in the United States will increase by nearly 20%. It also shows that in Missouri, Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death.

Williams said the group is focusing this year on more cost-effective solutions to the  Alzheimer's problem. The group hopes to use today's event to encourage lawmakers to pass House Bill 1885. The bill would shift funds from nursing homes taking care of Alzheimer's patients, and instead allow them to stay at home by paying caregiver instead. The  Alzheimer's Association estimates this would save the state nearly $12 million per year.

"If I can write one good policy, where it benefits the families, the caregivers, the person with Alzheimer's and dementia, just one good policy piece could affect millions of lives, that's enough for me to work hard every single day," Williams said.

Jacob Simburger, the Communications and Public Policy Coordinator for the Missouri Alzheimer's Association, said the group hopes today's event creates more progress towards fighting Alzheimer's.

"Advocates, volunteers and staff have made great strides at the state and federal level in the past and we're ready to continue pushing our mission forward until we live in a world without Alzheimer's," Simburger said.