House passes bill to aid Alzheimer’s patients

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On Jan. 31, state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, voted to pass several legislative bills, including one dealing with Massachusetts’ growing population of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and similar conditions, according to a press release.

The bill would establish an Alzheimer’s disease advisory council aimed at conducting research and making recommendations for patients and health care providers on how the commonwealth can best aid them.

Barnstable and Dukes are demographically the two oldest counties in Massachusetts, according to the press release, making them susceptible to the increasing number of patients with the disease as more of the baby-boomer generation enters into retirement.

With more patients afflicted with the disease, more nurses, social service providers, and home healthcare workers will be needed to aid patients. The legislation will set new standards for elder protective service workers and creates a continuing education requirement for physicians and nurses, which will focus on how to best diagnose and treat the disease and others like it.

“As the representative of a district with one of the oldest populations in the entire state, I realize how vital it is to be proactive when it comes to future health challenges especially around Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Fernandes said, according to the release. “This bill is the first step toward ensuring that our senior residents receive the care they need.”

The House also voted to spend $15 million for schools taking in students displaced from Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria.

The bills have passed the House of Representatives and now await votes in the Senate.