Maryland State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
In 2011, Governor Martin O’Malley issued executive order 01.01.2011.21 establishing the Virginia I. Jones Commission on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders to evaluate the impact of Alzheimer’s in Maryland and issue a State Plan with recommendations for state policymakers. The Commission, which included caregivers, health care providers, community organizations, and state agencies, published the Maryland State Plan on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in December 2012.
In October 2013, the legislature established the Virginia I. Jones Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Council into law (Chapter 305, Acts of 2013) to continue the work of the previous Commission. In reviewing state statutes, policies and programs, the Council was to improve and enhance quality of life and support and services for individuals living with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders and their families by promoting and expanding the availability and accessibility of home- and community-based support and service programs.
In 2019, the state enacted legislation (Chapter 410 of 2019) extending authorization of the Council to 2024 and expanding its charge to update and advocate for the Maryland State Plan on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. The Council will also now examine the needs of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia and their caregivers to identify how the state can assist most effectively and advise the governor and General Assembly on related policy and funding issues. The Council is also now charged with developing and promoting strategies that encourage brain health and reduce cognitive decline.
In 2022, Governor Larry Hogan signed into law SB 0027 (Chapter 397 of 2022), requiring the Council to publish an updated State Plan by September 2022 and every five years thereafter. Following the conclusion of the state legislative session, the Council published the updated Maryland State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias: 2022-2026. The updated state plan presents five goals to improve the state’s response to Alzheimer’s. These include improving public awareness; enhancing quality and coordination of dementia care; supporting dementia family caregivers; and increasing the collection and use of data to drive dementia policy that address key areas that are significant to persons living with dementia and their caregivers.
Maryland 2023 Policy Priorities
Support Dementia Caregivers Through Care Navigation
Caregivers in Maryland are providing over 371 million hours of unpaid care to their loved ones living with dementia, all while managing their own needs. With many caregivers unaware of the unique nature of Alzheimer’s or of the specific services available, the Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to establish a dementia care navigation program. Dementia care navigators located in the Area Agencies on Aging will provide families with caregiver education, dementia-specific case management, connect caregivers to resources, and provide community education.
Support Funding for the State Alzheimer’s Plan
The 2022-2025 Maryland State Plan will help coordinate improvements to dementia services and programs in the state. However, the state’s response will stall without dedicated resources to execute the State Plan. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state lawmakers to appropriate funding for the Maryland Department of Health’s Chronic Disease Bureau and Cognitive Health Program to fund the State Plan and support its implementation.
Eliminate Waitlists for the Senior Care Program
Over 110,000 Marylanders are living with dementia and the majority will need some form of long-term care as they age. To help them stay in their homes and out of more costly residential facilities, programs like the state-funded Senior Care program help lighten the load on family caregivers with critical services such as respite care. However, existing waitlists and the growing dementia population mean that services will be extremely limited. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state lawmakers to support a $21 million appropriation to eliminate the waitlist for the Senior Care program.
Sign Up to Learn About Advocacy Opportunities in Maryland
Thanks to our hardworking advocates in states like Maryland, AIM is leading the way to pass laws that improve the lives of those living with dementia and their caregivers. In Maryland’s 2022 legislative session, advocates worked to develop, introduce and grow support for several bills that became laws.
Find My Chapter
Together, we’re making an impact. Find an Alzheimer’s Association chapter in your community for more ways to engage.
State Affairs Contact: Eric Colchamiro
people living with Alzheimer’s in Maryland
Marylanders 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 Maryland needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in Maryland
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 Maryland policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.