A new statewide strategic plan addresses the needs of Idahoans with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well of those of their caregivers and family members. The plan recently was presented to both the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees in the Idaho Legislature.
The plan was created over the course of two years by the Idaho Alzheimer’s Planning Group, in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Aging at Boise State and a number of agencies including AARP, the Idaho Commission on Aging and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
About 26,000 Idahoans have Alzheimer’s disease and the state is projected to have the fifth-highest increase in the number of people with Alzheimer’s among all states. Currently, 41 percent of Idahoans living in skilled nursing facilities have moderate to severe dementia. A significant number of those are Medicaid recipients, at a cost of $75,000 per year, per room.
“Based on a statewide needs assessment performed over the past year, we collected data assessing the needs in Idaho regarding Alzheimer’s disease,” said Troy Rohn, professor of biological sciences at Boise State and a leading expert in the disease who helped write the state plan.
Based on the results of this study, the state plan encompasses five major recommendations. Each recommendation has one or more initiatives.
Summary of Recommendations
- Increase public awareness and access to information
- Provide Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias-specific training
- Coordinate Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias support services
- Create a positive regulatory/financial environment
- Develop an ongoing source of data collection
The next phase of the plan is implementation. “We hope that this process will provide strategies and guidelines to help Idahoans deal with this devastating disease,” Rohn said.