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Sec. hartsteinBy Elder Affairs’ Secretary Ann Hartstein

Last week the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders State Plan was released by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) and the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts /New Hampshire chapter. The plan provides recommendations, resources, goals and strategies to improve the lives of individuals affected by Alzheimer’s. The report was developed over the past two years by a statewide Advisory Committee that convened advocates, caregivers, participants with early stage Alzheimer's, stage agency representatives, and institutional and community agencies working with men and women with this difficult disease.  The recommendations reflect enduring concerns as well as priorities that were developed out of four listening sessions and seven focus groups convened throughout the state, collectively involving more than 400 participants.  “Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia-causing illness and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. “Massachusetts alone has 120,000 seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease which doesn’t include the many thousands with younger-onset Alzheimer’s or other related dementias.” 

The Advisory Committee identified five major areas of concern and ways that Elder Affairs and the Alzheimer’s Association will work with state wide and local agencies,  medical groups and advocacy groups  as well as and interested citizens to implement recommendations in those areas. The Advisory Committee recommendations are designed to address these concerns and include strategies to accomplish these goals. The key recommendations from the State Plan are:

  • Improve access to services and information for people with Alzheimer’s;
  • Improve and expand support and education for family caregivers;
  • Develop an infrastructure for enhanced quality of services within the medical community;
  • Improve public awareness surrounding risk factors and risk reduction for Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Create a set of statewide recommendations, guidelines and minimum standards surrounding quality of care in all care settings.

I very am pleased about this report and invite you to read it in its entirety. The recommendations provide a framework for the entire Massachusetts plan around Alzheimer’s and the future for all of us as we work together to meet the needs of  the increasing number of people affected by this disease.

 

To read the full report visit: http://www.mass.gov/elders/

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