Wisconsin State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
In October 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) convened the Dementia Care Stakeholder Summit. Participants discussed a redesign of the state’s dementia care system in order to provide appropriate, safe and cost-effective care throughout the entire course of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. With input from the Summit, DHS released a draft State Plan for public comment and review. DHS incorporated the stakeholder input into its final published report, Dementia Care Redesign: A Plan for a Dementia-Capable Wisconsin, released in February 2014.
In 2018, DHS conducted a public survey to get input from individuals and professionals impacted by memory loss or dementia. DHS convened the 2018 Dementia Summit with key stakeholders including family caregivers, advocacy organizations, health and human services agencies, legislators, clinicians, researchers, home care providers and long-term care providers to review the public survey and identify priority areas. Four priority areas were identified: 1) Care provided in communities where people live; 2) Improving how health care providers diagnose and care for people with dementia; 3) Responding to crises involving people with dementia; 4) Care provided in assisted living, nursing homes, and other residential communities. These priorities formed the foundation of the Wisconsin State Dementia Plan: 2019–2023.
A small State Plan Steering Committee engages partners to implement the goals and strategies in the state plan.
Wisconsin 2023 Policy Priorities
Expand Access to the Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program
There are nearly 200,000 family caregivers in Wisconsin who provide over 200 million hours of unpaid care at a value of $3.4 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. The Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP) was created to give support to families who provide care at home for someone living with Alzheimer’s by providing necessary services like respite care and homemaker services. To expand access to this critical program, the Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to increase the income limit to participate in the program to $55,000, and to increase funding to the program by $500,000 annually.
Empower Guardians with Dementia Training
Alzheimer’s and other dementia can impair a person’s judgment and their ability to take care of their personal and financial needs — sometimes requiring the appointment of a guardian. Once appointed, a guardian may make decisions for the individual with dementia that relate to their health, well-being, and economic interest. With such critical responsibilities, guardians need to be properly trained in order to effectively interact with a person with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on Wisconsin legislators to establish dementia-specific training requirements for guardians in the state. Training should provide education on effective communication techniques, crisis response, and de-escalation techniques to ensure the safety of both the person living with dementia and the guardian.
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State Affairs Contact: Allison Cramer
people living with Alzheimer’s in Wisconsin
Wisconsinites 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 Wisconsin needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in Wisconsin
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 Wisconsin policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.