Advocating for resources to help families impacted by dementia

Rep. Jessica Bateman, D-22

Rep. Bateman has represented the 22nd Legislative District in the Olympia area since being elected in 2020, and is the vice-chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. She is also on the Capital Budget and the Housing, Human Services & Veterans Committees. Rep. Bateman spoke at the Public Policy Town Hall on Nov. 9, 2021. The following is a transcript.

I am so happy to be here today. I wish I could see everyone in person, but I can envision all of your faces. I want to first start off by thanking you for joining the Town Hall today and your commitment and dedication to utilizing public policy so that we can create a world that is free from Alzheimer’s.

I serve as vice-chair on the Health Care and Wellness Committee, which is the committee within the legislature where most of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related bills would come to.

I also work during the day in health care policy for community health centers, so there’s a nice confluence there with my other job and then also working in the legislature.

I’m really looking forward to working this upcoming session, with the Alzheimer’s Association, to improve awareness around dementia and also increase home and community-based services — and to work on updating our Alzheimer’s State Plan. I know that many of you are family members of loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and I know from personal experience how helpless you can feel trying to navigate a system that is not designed to help people and families with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

I happened to be blessed with one of the most amazing grandmothers in the world. Grandma B is what we called her when I was growing up. She really was the rock of our family and I was the second grandchild, so I was able to monopolize her time before all of my other cousins were born. She always put family first. Over the years, as we saw her, what we didn’t know was that she was progressing with her dementia and Alzheimer’s.

It started with stories that she would retell repeatedly, and we just thought that was something that happens with aging. As it progressed to things like her having very, very limited short-term memory, we knew she would need additional care.

We struggled to provide caregiving for her. My aunt quit her job to provide round-the-clock care and moved in with grandma and grandpa. When my grandfather passed away in late 2019, the care grandma needed was beyond what my aunt could provide, so we found an assisted living facility that is fabulous and treating her very well.

Unfortunately, that was at the beginning of COVID in early 2020 and none of us knew in January what was going to happen. 

Navigating the health care system while trying to provide as much care for grandma as possible, while also having full-time jobs and families of their own was challenging for my family.

Everyone deserves the resources that they need to provide the love and care that our loved ones have given us — which is why it’s so important that we update our Alzheimer’s State Plan. 

I am very grateful to have the Alzheimer’s Association so we can help empower families as you navigate this process. 

Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing more, and please reach out to me if you have any questions, if you want to talk or if I can be a resource to you.

Please join us for Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Day on Feb. 9 in Washington State. Together, we will press legislators to fund better care and support and make updates to the existing Alzheimer’s State Plan. All meetings are to be held online or by phone using the Zoom platform. Learn more at

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