Nebraska State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
In May 2015, Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB320, calling for the creation of a State Plan on Alzheimer’s disease. The legislation requires the Aging Nebraskans Task Force to assess existing resources in the state, provide recommendations to meet the growing needs of those impacted by Alzheimer’s, and develop strategies to identify gaps in community services. The Task Force included representatives from state agencies, long-term care organizations, elder law, and community organizations as well as economists, seniors, caregivers, and aging advocates. The Nebraska State Plan for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias was published in June 2016. A State Plan Infographic is also available.
Nebraska 2023 Policy Priorities
Establish a Dementia Coordinator Position
With the number of Nebraskans aged 65 or older expected to increase by 14.3% in 2025, coordination between state agencies that administer programs for people with dementia is crucial. This lack of coordination is hindering the ability of Nebraska to evaluate the effectiveness of policy efforts that serve those living with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is advocating for state policymakers to establish a full-time Dementia Coordinator position within the Department of Health & Human Services to coordinate the state’s response to dementia. The Dementia Coordinator will serve as a liaison between state agencies, the governor, the legislature, and private stakeholders to identify and address strategies to improve dementia services and programs within the state.
Empower Public Guardians with Dementia Training
Alzhiemer’s and other dementia can significantly impact a person’s ability to take care of their activities of daily living, impair their judgment, and cause confusion — leading to the requirement of appointing a public guardian. While many individuals living with dementia may have an appointed guardian to help take care of their needs, guardians are not required to have any type of dementia training in Nebraska. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to require public guardians of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia to receive dementia-specific training. This training will ensure the safety of both the person with dementia and their guardian.
Include Dementia on Existing Risk Public Health Campaigns
Although more Nebraskans will develop Alzheimer’s in the coming years, there may be ways to reduce risk of developing the disease. Regular physical activity and management of certain cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, and diabetes, can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and potentially reduce the risk of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is advocating for the Department of Health & Human Services to incorporate dementia risk reduction into existing state Chronic Disease programs, including but not limited to the Tobacco Free Nebraska and the LivingWell programs.
Incorporate Dementia into the State Health Improvement Plan
State Health Improvement Plans (SHIP) determine which health issues a state will prioritize. As Nebraska prepares for its update to the SHIP, Alzheimer’s and other dementia should be a prioritized issue for the state to review. The Alzheimer’s Association is advocating for the new State Health Improvement Plan to incorporate the needs of the 35,000 Nebraskans with Alzheimer’s and their 61,000 unpaid caregivers.
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State Affairs Contact: Nick Faustman
Email: [email protected]
people living with Alzheimer’s in Nebraska
Nebraskans are providing unpaid care
Medicaid cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s (2020)
deaths from Alzheimer’s in 2019
in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia
increase of geriatricians in Nebraska needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in Nebraska
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 Nebraska policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.