Missouri is one of 22 states to get some of a $17 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health to help those dealing with the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Missouri’s share of that money is $330,000 thousand dollars. The state Department of Health is using the money to start a series of programs offering services and support to people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

Glenda Meachum-Cain with the Bureau of Senior Programs says the state is working with four Alzheimer’s chapters: Mid Missouri, Southwest Missouri, Heart of America and St. Louis.

A pilot program uses a screening process to diagnose early Alzheimer’s and early dementia.

Meachum-Cain says the pilot program will help determine how useful the screening process is.

While the pilot program is only in Central Missouri now, she says she hopes the program will become available throughout the state.

About 110,000 people in Missouri suffer from Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

This program is aimed at those in the early stages, as well as their families and caregivers. The goal is to offer education, training and support those with early-stage memory loss so they can remain in their homes and communities.

She says the screening process was developed by Dr. James Galvin at Washington University. He’s the director of the Memory Diagnostic Center, and a member of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

Those wanting more information on where screening can be found in their area, or more about Alzheimer’s support and education, call Meachum-Cain at 573.526.8534.

Jessica Machetta reports [Download/listen MP3]