State government Alzheimer’s disease plans create the infrastructure and accountability necessary to build dementia-capable programs for the growing number of people with the disease. A comprehensive state strategy to address needs of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders provides a mechanism to consider collectively a range of issues including: dementia capable support services for people at all stages of the disease; quantifying the number of individuals with Alzheimer’s in a state; quality of long-term care; Medicaid coverage of long-term care for those who cannot afford it; availability of diagnostic services; and safety of persons who wander.
Plan creation involves state agencies; legislators; residential and community care providers; professional and family caregivers; and persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Using this approach, state governments will address the Alzheimer’s epidemic with a thoughtful, integrated, and cost-effective approach.
This link will direct you to the several published state plans to date: State Government Alzheimer's Disease Plans
State Plan Map (1 page)
State Plans Fact Sheet (2 pages)
Model State Plan Task Force Legislation (2 pages)
State Alzheimer's Disease Plans Video
Due to the impact of dementia on a person’s ability to make decisions and in the absence of other advanced directives, people with Alzheimer’s disease may need the assistance of a guardian. Jurisdiction in adult guardianship cases often becomes complicated because multiple states, each with its own adult guardianship system, may have an interest in the case. Consequently, it may be unclear which state court has jurisdiction to decide the guardianship issue.
In response to this common jurisdictional confusion, the Uniform Law Commission developed the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA). The legislation establishes a uniform set of rules for determining jurisdiction, and thus, simplifies the process for determining jurisdiction between multiple states in adult guardianship cases. It also establishes a framework that allows state court judges in different states to communicate with each other about adult guardianship cases.
Fewer than half of all people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or their caregivers, are aware of the diagnosis. Early detection and diagnosis — and knowing of the diagnosis — are essential to ensuring the best medical care and outcomes for those affected by the disease. Healthy People 2020 has set the goal of increasing the percentage of individuals with the disease or their caregivers who are aware of the diagnosis.
Public health actions that must be taken to increase early diagnosis include:
- Educating the public and the medical community about the warning signs of possible dementia and the benefits of early diagnosis.
- Educating health care professionals on the importance of discussing memory issues with their adult patients and the use of validated cognitive assessment tools.
There is a growing scientific consensus that regular physical activity, management of certain cardiovascular risk factors (such as diabetes, smoking, and hypertension), and avoidance of traumatic brain injury can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Studies show these factors may also reduce the risk of dementia. Especially in the absence of a disease-modifying treatment, public health action must be taken to increase public awareness and education about known and potentially modifiable risk factors of cognitive decline and dementia. Risk reduction messages for preserving cognitive health should be integrated into public health policies, campaigns, strategies and action plans.
As Alzheimer’s disease emerges as one of the major public health issues of the 21st century, state-level data collection on Alzheimer’s continues to lag in comparison to other leading causes of death such as heart disease and diabetes. Fortunately, recent advancements now provide states with an opportunity to improve Alzheimer's data collection at the state level by using their existing Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).