The Alzheimer’s Association wants the state to have a plan to deal with the growing impact of the disease.
The organization is sponsoring a news conference Wednesday to push for such a plan. Scott Herrick, director of public policy for the Alzheimer’s Association of Western Carolina Chapter, said such a plan would help focus attention and resources. Most states have a plan; North Carolina is one of nine states without one, he said.
Herrick envisions a state plan that would help groups working on Alzheimer’s coordinate their activities, promote the need for respite-care funds, call for a standard level of training for health professionals who work with patients with dementia, and point patients toward research trials.
A Senate bill that would have set up an Alzheimer’s disease task force did not move from the Rules Committee last year.
Separately, AARP North Carolina is using this session to raise awareness of the need to support residents who care for elderly or disabled family members at home, said Mary Bethel, one of the group’s lobbyists. Caregiver support was a top issue at community meetings AARP held across the state before the session started, she said.
Families provide 80 percent of long-term care in the state, Bethel said, and if that diminishes, “we’re really going to be up a creek.”
Increased funding for the Home and Community Block Grant, which pays for services that help older people live at home, and more support services for family caregivers are top priorities for AARP.