Alzheimer’s Task Force to hold public hearing in St. George

Photo by Carol Garbiano

ST. GEORGE – The Alzheimer’s State Planning Task Force will hold a public hearing on Thursday, September 15, from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 156 at the Taylor Health Science Building at 1526 Medical Center Drive, St. George. 

The task force is comprised of 20 appointees representing senior care services, area agencies on aging, physicians, individuals and family members impacted by the disease and state and local government representatives. Nels Holmgren, Director of Aging and Adult Services will chair the task force.

The purpose of the group is to develop a Utah State Plan of Action for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for the next decade, 2011–2021. As the Task Force completes its work, it will submit its findings and recommendations to the Utah Health and Human Services Interim Committee before November 2011.

Objectives of the task force are to assess the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease on residents of the state; determine the existing resources for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers; and develop recommendations to respond to escalating needs for services and resources.

There are more than 32,000 people with Alzheimer’s and 132,000 caregivers in Utah. In 2010, caregivers provided over 151 million hours of unpaid care valued at $1.8 billion. Medicare and Medicaid costs for an Alzheimer’s patient are triple that of other senior adults in the system. It is predicted that Utah will lead the nation in dementia growth by 2025 with a 127 percent increase.

“We are pleased state policymakers voted to support the implementation of a state plan for Alzheimer’s disease to address a broad range of related issues such as state support of research efforts, financing long-term care, expanding dementia-capable home and community based services,” said Jack Jenks, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Utah Chapter.

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