Alabama State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
In May 2012, the Alabama Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force was established (Alabama House Joint Resolution 433). The Task Force was charged with assessing the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, examining the care service system, and developing strategies to respond to the Alzheimer’s and dementia crisis in Alabama. The Task Force included representatives from state agencies, health care organizations, and community organizations as well as state legislators, caregivers, researchers, and individuals living with Alzheimer’s. In April 2015, the State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Related Dementias in Alabama was published and serves as an essential guide for policymakers.
Alabama 2023 Policy Priorities
Prioritize the Public Health Response to Alzheimer’s
With a growing population of Alabama residents age 65 or older, there is a significant need to increase awareness and understanding of cognitive decline. By 2025, there are expected to be 110,000 Alabamans age 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s — a 14.6% increase since 2020. Through advancing risk reduction, early detection and diagnosis, and care planning, more Alabamans and their families can be better prepared when symptoms may arise. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging legislators to appropriate $300,000 to the Department of Public Health to further the state’s response to Alzheimer’s.
Equip First Responders with Dementia Training
First responders are critical to the health and safety of people living with Alzheimer’s. They frequently interact with individuals who have dementia in a variety of settings, and with the number of people living with dementia in Alabama growing quickly, first responders should be better equipped to protect and serve this unique population. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state policymakers to require statewide dementia training for first responders. Currently, there are no uniform dementia-specific training requirements for emergency medical service personnel, firefighters or law enforcement in Alabama. Without proper training on how to recognize the signs of dementia and how to effectively communicate with people with dementia, situations may escalate quickly with potentially dangerous consequences
Establish Dementia Training Requirements for Guardians
Alzhiemer’s and other dementia can significantly impact a person’s ability to complete activities of daily living, impair their judgment, and cause confusion — leading to the requirement of appointing a guardian. While many individuals living with dementia may have an appointed guardian to help take care of their needs, guardians are not required to have any type of dementia training in Alabama. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to require guardians of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia to receive dementia-specific training once the Alabama Office of the Guardian is established
Strengthen Dementia Data Collection
Data collection leads to discovery and innovation and drives government action. To better understand how to improve dementia services and increase awareness of the disease, Alabama must improve the collection, availability, and utilization of dementia-related data by the Departments of Senior Services, Public Health, and Medicaid. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on Alabama officials to improve the collection and reporting of dementia-specific data in these state agencies.
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State Affairs Contact: James King
people living with Alzheimer’s in Alabama
Alabamans are providing unpaid care
Medicaid cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s (2020)
increase in Alzheimer’s deaths since 2000
in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia
increase of geriatricians in Alabama needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in Alabama
The following resources developed by AIM and the Alzheimer’s Association will help you learn more about the issues impacting people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, how Alabama policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.