New legislation to help people with younger onset dementia

local news

ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/FOX 24) – Typically, most of us think of Dementia as something that impacts only senior citizens.  Turns out, that’s not always the case.  Some people are affected earlier in life and now, new legislation could help them and their families.

President Trump signed into law this week legislation to help people with younger onset dementia.

“Watching someone lose their memory and lose themselves it just absolutely devastating, ” said Julie Gray, Alzheimer’s Association West Texas Chapter.

It was devastating and difficult for Gray, personally.  Her grandmother had a 15 year battle with Alzheimer’s.

“It was just sad and hard and really, really difficult for my mom and I, both to face the challenges that we were faced with, with caregiving for her,” said Gray.

The Odessa woman’s grandmother passed away two years ago at a Midland nursing home.

“Since she’s been gone, I’ve really tried to channel that grief that I felt for losing her into a resolve that I’m going to fight for others,” said Gray.  “I am part of our congressional team and so, I actively advocate with our state and our federal legislators.”

Gray said statistics show more than 200,000 Americans are living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

“The average age of those diagnosed with younger-onset is only 49.  Before this legislation was signed into effect, only Americans that were age 60 and older qualified for additional services such as Meals on Wheels, transportation,” said Gray.

The new law will allow younger dementia patients to have access to those same benefits.

One of the amazing things about the Alzheimer’s Association West Texas Chapter is there is help 24-7.  The nonprofit has a hotline.  The number is 1-800-272-3900.

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