Georgia State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
In 2013, the Georgia General Assembly established the Georgia Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias State Plan Task Force through passage of Senate Bill 14 to research the impact of the disease and develop a strategy to mobilize the state response to the growing public health threat posed by Alzheimer’s. The Task Force included representatives from state agencies, local health departments, research institutes, law enforcement, care provider associations, elder law, and community organizations as well as state legislators, caregivers, community members, and individuals directly impacted by Alzheimer’s. Building upon previous work completed by the Georgia Division of Aging Services, the Task Force solicited public input and drafted the Georgia Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias State Plan. The plan was published in June 2014.
Building off of the State Plan released in 2014, the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias (GARD) Council released an update to the GARD State Plan in 2020. The updated State Plan contains goals for the state to provide necessary services and programs for Georgians affected by dementia and cognitive decline. Among the goals include strengthening research and data; enhancing efforts to develop a dementia-capable workforce; and improving service delivery for people living with dementia and their caregivers.
Georgia 2023 Policy Priorities
Increase Medicaid Services for Assisted Living and Memory Care Residents
Alzheimer’s is one of the costliest diseases in America. The duration of Alzheimer’s disease, combined with the high cost of care, means that most people living with Alzheimer’s will ultimately need support from Medicaid. Georgia residents who reside in assisted living communities (ALC) and memory care are not currently eligible for Medicaid. Currently, Georgia does not allow ALCs with more than 24 beds to qualify for Medicaid home and community-based services, forcing residents to move into more costly skilled nursing facilities. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state policymakers to increase options for Medicaid to provide services for residents of assisted living communities and memory care facilities.
Support Dementia Caregivers by Funding Respite Care
There are nearly 340,000 family caregivers in Georgia who provide nearly 650 million hours of unpaid care at a value of $9.3 billion. These unpaid caregivers allow individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia to remain in the comfort of their own home, but providing this care can take an emotional and physical toll on the caregivers. Current state funding is inadequate to meet the existing needs of caregivers for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and this shortfall will only grow as the population with dementia continues to increase in Georgia. The Alzheimer’s Association is requesting lawmakers increase funding for dementia-specific respite care in Georgia to ensure family caregivers have the support they need.
Ensure a Coordinated Statewide Response to Alzheimer’s
To better serve individuals living with dementia and their caregivers, the Alzheimer’s Association is advocating for the strategic coordination of the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Plan, the Division of Aging Services Plan, and the State Health Improvement Plan. Coordination between the three plans will ensure the state incorporates the needs of the 150,000 Georgians living with Alzheimer’s and their 338,000 unpaid caregivers.
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State Affairs Contact: Nancy Pitra
people living with Alzheimer’s in Georgia
Georgians 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 Georgia needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in Georgia
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 Georgia policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.