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State Priorities

State policy is vital to the work Association Chapters do to meet the needs of individuals living with Alzheimer's and their families. State officials determine regulatory and statutory standards for dementia training, control spending on state respite care dollars (which affects access to those services), designate spending for state long-term care services, and control Medicaid spending, and in some cases, eligibility and scope of benefits — all of which can have a direct effect on families for whom the Association provides care and support.

State Alzheimer's Disease Plans

State Alzheimer's disease plans create the infrastructure and accountability necessary to confront the sweeping economic and social impact of this disease. By bringing together essential stakeholders — such as state agency officials, legislators, care providers, family caregivers, and people with Alzheimer's — the state planning process is able to identify critical issues, explore solutions, and construct a roadmap to guide a state's development into a dementia-capable state. Every state should develop a State Alzheimer's Disease Plan, and in those states that already have a published plan, efforts should be undertaken to ensure that the plan's recommendations are fully implemented and that the plan remains up-to-date. Learn more.

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Uniform Adult Guardianship

States should ensure that their policies on advance directives and care planning reduce the complexity of end-of-life decision-making. One important step is to enact the budget-neutral Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA), as approved by the Uniform Law Commission. UAGPPJA establishes a framework for courts in different states to communicate about adult guardianship cases and thus makes the resolution of multi-state jurisdictional issues easier for family members. Learn more.

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Dementia Training

To best serve those with Alzheimer's, states should have a quality dementia care policy in place that ensures those with Alzheimer's receive care from knowledgeable professionals. Historically, mandatory training laws have required a minimum number of hours of training, but have not addressed the need for competency in dementia care. States should ensure that competency measures are integrated into dementia training requirements. Learn more.

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Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer's

Fewer than half of all people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or their caregivers, are aware of the diagnosis. Early detection and diagnosis — and knowing of the diagnosis — are essential to ensuring the best medical care and outcomes for those affected by the disease. Healthy People 2020 has set the goal of increasing the percentage of individuals with the disease or their caregivers who are aware of the diagnosis. Learn more.

Risk Reduction

There is a growing scientific consensus that regular physical activity, management of certain cardiovascular risk factors (such as diabetes, smoking, and hypertension) and avoidance of traumatic brain injury can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Studies show these factors may also reduce the risk of dementia. Especially in the absence of a disease-modifying treatment, public health action must be taken to increase public awareness and education about known and potentially modifiable risk factors of cognitive decline and dementia. Learn more.

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance

Obtaining a more definitive picture of Alzheimer's is essential to any successful strategy to combat the disease. Recent work by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now enables states to collect data on the impact of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease using the existing state Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Two modules are available: a Cognitive Module and a Caregiver Module. States should include these two modules in their state BRFSS to provide a better understanding of — and to identify opportunities for reducing — the impact of this devastating disease. Learn more.

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Medicaid Legislation

Among individuals with Alzheimer's, 75 percent will be admitted to a nursing home by the age of 80 (compared to only 4 percent of the overall population). As a result, Medicaid is critical for many people with Alzheimer's. While Medicaid spending constitutes one of the largest items in most state budgets — and most states continue to face severe fiscal constraints — state policymakers must ensure that critical benefits are preserved. Learn more.

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Alzheimer's Association

Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.