HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds gathered in Hartford Wednesday for the Alzheimer’s Association CT State Advocacy Day. The group is pushing for new legislation to improve the lives of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

More than 6 million Americans are currently living with the disease. That number is expected to grow by 12.7 million by 2050. Additionally, with more and more people choosing to age at home, trained care companions are more critical than ever.

News 8 spoke with Wendy Forbes, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about six years ago.

“It’s very difficult for a family because there’s so much work that I can no longer do, like I can’t pay bills, at this point, I can no longer order my medication or fill my scripts,” Forbes said.

Forbes’ wife, Christine Pagano, left her full-time teaching position to care for her and spend more time with her.

“Wendy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two weeks before my mom passed away from Alzheimer’s,” Pagano said.

Pagano’s family history gave her insight into the disease, but she said not everyone has that knowledge.

“You’re given a diagnosis, and then you’re left to your own devices to figure it out and find supports,” she said.

The first piece of legislation would establish a State Dementia Services Coordinator to accelerate Connecticut’s ability to address the disease. The second bill would provide dementia training for direct care workers. Together, the association believes these initiatives will improve the lives of patients and their families.