It was a soggy morning in Sacramento, but more than 200 dedicated Alzheimer’s Association volunteer advocates still showed up in good spirits to the 2012 Advocacy Day at the State Capitol. Among them: people with early stage Alzheimer’s, family caregivers, healthcare professionals and other Alzheimer’s champions.
Following a light breakfast and overview of the day, we were welcomed to the Capitol by Senator Tom Berryhill who thanked everyone for their work as volunteers.
“What you’re doing up here today is very important because education of these legislators in that building is so necessary.”
Training for the group continued with an overview of “legislator meeting Dos and Don’ts” by Assemblymember Holly Mitchell.
“We work for you and that can be a one sided relationship unless you make it otherwise and reach out to us on a regular basis,” she said. “That’s your responsibility as Californians. I have a job to do and you have a job to do to make us informed of issues that are important to you.
Then we started to really dig into the issues – first up, California Caregiver Resource Center funding elimination. Dr. Donna Benton, director of the Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Centers explained our first legislative ask: Please oppose the Governor’s budget proposal to eliminate the funding of the California Caregiver Resource Centers (CRCs).
The CRCs provide much needed service to caregivers that otherwise would have no place to go for such services. Failure to fund the CRCs will:
- Result in a loss of $3.9 million of matching federal funds
- Eliminate services that will force many families to move their loved one into a more expensive skilled nursing home, thereby increasing the cost to the State
- Result in the loss of resources that will lead to increased employee healthcare costs and increased absenteeism.
Following this summary, Janet Morris, Esq., director, Family Caregiver Project and a member of the board of the Alzheimer’s Association Southland Chapter addressed In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) funding. We are asking legislators to oppose the Governor’s budget proposal to eliminate IHSS because it would be detrimental to families with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, who would be left without anything but the most basic of services.
Assemblymember Mariko Yamada then closed out the training program with words of thanks.
“Alzheimer’s is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s an issue for all California, the nation and the world,” she said. “For you to be here, is so important. It’s wonderful to see such a diverse audience because Alzheimer’s disease does not discriminate.”
And with that, 200 Alzheimer’s advocates broke into their legislative teams – 23 of them from the Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter – to discuss the strategy for their meetings over lunch. Starting at 1 p.m., they stormed the Capitol and met with every legislative office in the state!
We’ll have more information about the outcomes of Advocacy Day for you. In the meantime, sign up as an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org!
For pictures from the event, please visit our Flickr page.