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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

NH healthcare worker shortage leaves Alzheimer’s patients few options

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Tuesday, March 19, 2024   

A health care workforce shortage in New Hampshire is leaving Alzheimer's patients and their families with few options for treatment.

Patients facing a possible diagnosis are having to wait more than six-months to see a neurologist and are often forced to travel long distances.

Melissa Grenier, regional manager for the Alzheimer's Association of New Hampshire, said while patients wait, the disease progresses and families feel the financial and emotional strain.

"We want people to have the earliest and the most accurate diagnosis possible so that they can implement the best treatments," Grenier urged. "They can plan for the future."

New Hampshire has the most job openings in health care per capita and will need a more than 100% increase in geriatricians to meet demand by 2050.

Grenier pointed out 26,000 people in the state live with Alzheimer's disease and the number will grow to 32,000 next year.

State lawmakers are considering a bill to help build the pipeline of health care workers needed for what has been dubbed the "silver tsunami" of Alzheimer's and dementia patients. Senate Bill 403 would create a rural residency program, expand student loan repayments for medical workers and help expose more students to health care careers.

For now, Grenier noted the state has just 10 respite care facilities for people with Alzheimer's and demand is growing.

"I do not think that New Hampshire has the infrastructure to support our aging population and our growing population of people with memory impairment," Grenier asserted. "And subsequently, the number of people caring for those folks."

Grenier emphasized respite centers offer families a more affordable option compared to home health services, but those living in the state's lakes region or north country have even fewer options. She added people often call the Alzheimer's Association 24-hour hotline looking for advice on the difficult health care decisions they face each day.


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