A plan to address the needs of Oregonians impacted by Alzheimer’s disease was announced Monday by a broad coalition of partners who came to consensus on first steps to take on the growing impact of this devastating disease.
The plan is the first for Oregon, and represents a groundbreaking effort between the private sector, government, and non-profit organizations to help the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians directly affected by Alzheimer’s – whether as caregivers or by living with the disease.
Over 165,000 Oregonians are providing unpaid care for people living with Alzheimer’s. There are now about 76,000 Oregonians living with the disease – about the same number as the population of Bend – and this number is expected to increase to over 110,000 by 2025.
The task force is taking on a $2.2 billion problem. That's the financial toll they say unpaid, unlicensed caregivers — such as family members — provide to Alzheimer's disease patients.
The task force estimates the state will have 110,000 Alzheimer's patients by 2025, a 69 percent spike in just over a decade.
In January 2015, Oregonians who can't afford fulltime care for their family members and are unwilling to have them civilly committed will be required to receive training if they are appointed as guardians.
The new plan lays out strategies for dealing with issues ranging from the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s to the need for improved education of doctors about the disease and available resources.
“We are working on countless fronts to make Oregon’s health care system more effective, provide people with better care at lower costs, and improve coordination among health care providers,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “For chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, this is especially important, and this plan advances input and expertise from Oregonians affected by and focused on Alzheimer’s to help ensure that care and resources are available to patients and caregivers.”
"Those of us who live in the more urban areas of Oregon are fortunate to have a variety of resources available to help our loved ones with dementia, but these resources are spotty and unavailable in many other areas," said Dee Whitney, whose husband Bill is living with Alzheimer's. "While Portland has a number of geriatric physicians, other areas have one or none nearby. This plan will help those of us personally impacted by this devastating disease by improving access to resources all across the state."
The state plan for Alzheimer’s lays out five main goals, with multiple recommendations for strategies to accomplish each goal. The goals are:
Enhance public awareness and engagement
Optimize care quality and efficiency
Protect individuals with dementia
Improve access to quality care, and
Comprehend, prevent, and effectively treat dementia and its impact.
Accomplishing these goals will require ongoing collaboration between state and local governments, private sector care providers, and non-profit agencies that help people impacted by Alzheimer’s. The plan identifies responsible parties, implementation timeframes, and measurable outcomes to determine whether the plan is successful in achieving its goals.
“Families dealing with Alzheimer’s face a difficult journey struggling with the impact of this devastating disease,” said Kathleen Cody, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Oregon Chapter. “Now, for the first time, people in Oregon have come together to make a solid plan to help all Oregonians going through these difficulties. By working together, there is hope for the future that caregivers will have the resources they need, and that we will someday achieve our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.”
“Oregon can’t wait to address the Alzheimer’s crisis, and our seniors especially need us to take action,” noted State Representative Vic Gilliam, Co-Chair of the Oregon Elder Abuse Work Group. “This plan recognizes the need and recommends sensible steps to protect our most vulnerable citizens."
“As the baby boomers are aging, we want to make sure that Oregon is prepared for the Alzheimer’s problem that we will face in the future,” added state Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, who served on the task force that crafted the state plan.
"In these times of tight budgets, it is refreshing to see such great collaboration between private, public, and nonprofit leaders to address an issue that affects all of us," said Jason Hess, CEO of Elite Care. "We will be able to maximize the impact of resources for the vulnerable Alzheimer's population by working together to implement this plan."
"The state plan for Alzheimer's disease is an important first step toward addressing a major public health challenge that will overtake us unless all of us -- families, physicians, researchers, service organizations and policy makers -- work together,” stated Dr. Jeffrey Kaye, Director, OHSU's Layton Aging & Alzheimer's Disease Center and the Oregon Center for Aging & Technology; Director, geriatric neurology at the Portland VA. “We all need to roll up our sleeves and confront Alzheimer's disease now."
The State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease in Oregon (SPADO) Task Force, which developed this plan, includes family caregivers, non-profit organizations, state government agencies, academic researchers, issue experts, care providers, and state legislators.
Five workgroups focused on different aspects of the impact of ADRD – Education and Public Awareness, Public Safety, Continuum of Care, Legal/Financial, and Medical/Research. The SPADO Task Force also gathered public input from a variety of sources, including seven town hall meetings and an online survey. This input informed and validated the recommendations crafted by the SPADO workgroups.
A National Alzheimer’s Plan was released earlier this year as a result of the unanimous passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. The state plan and the national plan complement each other, as there are some needs of those impacted by Alzheimer’s that are best addressed at the national level, and some best addressed at the state and local level. Details about the National Alzheimer’s Plan are available at napa.alz.org.
The entire State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias in Oregon is available online for review at www.oregonalzplan.org.
Seven town hall events will be held around Oregon in August to inform the public what is in the National Alzheimer’s Plan and the state plan. Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the plans. Details for the town hall meetings are available at http://www.alz.org/oregon/in_my_community_56935.asp
Here's the info about Bend:
Bend - Saturday, August 18th, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm - Bend Senior Center, 1600 SE Reed Market Road, Bend