When most people imagine Alzheimer’s disease, often what comes to mind are severe, heartbreaking cases like the one portrayed in the popular 2004 romantic drama,“The Notebook.” However, that’s just a small part of what the disease can look like. Nobody would expect ordinary people to know that, but everybody would expect medical professionals to recognize symptoms of dementia and know how to respond.

Turns out, they don’t. That’s why earlier this year, the Massachusetts legislature unanimously passed an innovative new bill called "An Act relative to Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the Commonwealth." A big part of the act requires training for healthcare professionals to deal with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The first-of-its-kind law will be a multifaceted approach to the support of people suffering from Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Dan Zotos — Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter.

Judy Johanson — Advocate and board member for the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter. She was also a caregiver for her late husband, Steve Johanson, who passed away earlier this year due to early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Mike Belleville — Advocate and former member of the Alzheimer’s Association’s National Early Stage Advisory Group. Mike is also currently living with Lewy Body disease, a common form of dementia.