Alaska State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
In 2011, the Alaska Commission on Aging began the work of creating a state plan to address Alzheimer’s and dementia. With collaboration from other state agencies, community organizations, mental health professionals, and long-term care providers, the Commission formed a core team responsible for drafting Alaska’s response to Alzheimer’s. After collecting public input, Alaska’s Roadmap to Address Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias was published in December 2014. A subsequent plan entitled A Call to Action: Alaska’s 10-Year Map to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia was released in January 2021.
Alaska 2024 Policy Priorities
Expand Access to Adult Day Services
Adult day and respite care services allow people living with dementia to remain in their homes for as long as possible while providing family caregivers much needed support. Currently, 25,000 Alaskans serve as unpaid caregivers of individuals living with dementia, and only a portion of them have access to adult day services. These services provide daytime care, therapeutic activities and social engagement, while providing caregivers with a much needed relief from caregiving duties. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to expand adult day services in Alaska to meet the growing needs of individuals living with dementia and provide essential support to caregivers.
Improve Dementia Training for Certified Nursing Assistants
Following tremendous work from advocates, the Alaska Board of Nursing took important steps to prioritize dementia-specific education requirements for certified nursing assistants (CNAs). CNAs primarily work in residential settings such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals, and help residents with activities of daily living. While CNAs in Alaska currently undergo training for providing care to residents living with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association is urging state lawmakers to expand training for CNAs that includes education on recognizing the signs and symptoms of dementia and incorporating person-centered care practices in their care.
Establish a State Council on Dementia
Alaska is home to 8,500 individuals living with Alzheimer’s, and by 2025, the number of Alaskans living with the disease is estimated to increase by 29.4%. By bringing together a wide range of key public and private stakeholders to collaborate, Alaska can develop comprehensive policy solutions to help the growing number of individuals living with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to create a formal state council on Alzheimer’s and other dementia. The Council will solicit input from the public, consult with industry representatives, gather data on key issues in the state and provide recommendations to the governor and legislature.
Empower Adult Protective Services Workers with Dementia Training
Adult Protective Services (APS) workers frequently encounter individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia when responding to emergencies and are often the first to observe instances of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Without proper training on how to recognize the signs of dementia and how to effectively communicate with an individual living with dementia, situations may escalate quickly with potentially dangerous consequences. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state lawmakers and officials to require dementia-specific training for APS workers so these professionals can obtain skills to effectively interact with victims of elder abuse who are living with dementia or experiencing cognitive decline.
Sign Up to Learn About Advocacy Opportunities in Alaska
Find My Chapter
Together, we’re making an impact. Find an Alzheimer’s Association chapter in your community for more ways to engage.
State Affairs Contact: Elizabeth Bolling
Email: [email protected]
people living with Alzheimer’s in Alaska
Alaskans are providing unpaid care
Medicaid cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s (2020)
increase in Alzheimer’s deaths 2000-2019
in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia
increase of geriatricians in Alaska needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in Alaska
The following resources developed by AIM and the Alzheimer’s Association will help you learn more about the issues impacting people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, how Alaska policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.