Local Alzheimer’s state champion to meet leaders

Smith Mountain Lake resident Lisa Fornier (right) is shown with her mother. Fornier will be among the 60 Alzheimer’s state champions who will travel to Richmond to meet with state legislators on Jan. 16 for a Day on the Hill and to advocate for the 150,000 Virginians impacted by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Smith Mountain Lake resident Lisa Fornier will be among the 60 Alzheimer’s state champions who will travel to Richmond to meet with state legislators on Jan. 16 for a Day on the Hill and to advocate for the 150,000 Virginians impacted by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Advocacy Day turns Alzheimer’s statistics into actual people who are impacted by the disease and other dementias,” said Marie Kolendo, executive director of Alzheimer’s Association Central and Western Virginia Chapter. “It is their personal stories that will remain with legislators as they make decisions on public health policy.”

Lisa Fournier was the caregiver for her mother for 14 years. “Caregiving is very difficult. As I always say, ‘It is the hardest “job” in the world,’” said Fournier. “Dementia is not something we can ignore. It must be tackled from the political, community and personal aspects. Our representatives need to be aware each of us will be impacted one way or another by this disease. As a first time attendee, I want my story to join with the others to make a difference for all of us.”

There are four key pieces of legislation that the state champions will be asking their legislators to support:

• Increasing public awareness, early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

• Building a dementia-capable workforce.

• Increasing access to home and community-based services.

• Enhancing the quality of care in residential settings.

-For more information, see the Jan. 15 edition of the Smith Mountain Eagle-

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