Utah State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
In March 2011, Utah’s state legislature passed Senate Bill 48, establishing the Utah State Plan Task Force within the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services. Tasked with assessing the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia within the state, the Task Force included representatives from state agencies, homecare providers, health plans, and elder law, as well as state legislators, an individual living with the disease, caregivers, and the lieutenant governor. After collecting public feedback, the Task Force drafted Utah’s State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias: Action Plan for 2012-2017, which was published in January 2012. In early 2018, Utah updated their plan, releasing Utah's State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, 2018 to 2022. In 2023, the Utah Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Coordinating Council released a new state plan with five priorities dedicated to addressing the needs of people living with dementia, caregivers, and health care professionals.
Utah 2023 Policy Priorities
Spread Dementia Awareness Across the State
An early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementia can improve the quality of life, care, and reduce the financial burden of the disease. Unfortunately, many Utahans living with dementia are undiagnosed or unaware that they have the disease, and those who are diagnosed often find themselves lost within the bureaucracy of the different programs designed to assist them. A public awareness campaign can provide critical information on the signs and symptoms of dementia, effective techniques for communicating with a person living with dementia and health care providers, and resources available for caregivers in communities across Utah. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state lawmakers to appropriate $100,000 for the establishment of a dementia-specific public awareness campaign targeted for people living with dementia, informal caregivers, health care professionals, and underserved rural and urban communities heavily impacted by Alzheimer’s.
Empower First Responders with Dementia Training
First responders are critical to the health and safety of people living with Alzheimer’s, as they frequently interact with individuals living with dementia in a variety of settings and are among the first to observe instances of abuse and neglect. Without proper training on how to recognize the signs of dementia and how to effectively communicate with people living with dementia, situations may escalate quickly with potentially dangerous consequences. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on Utah legislators to require all first responders to receive two-hours of competency-based dementia training. The training will help Utah’s first responders identify symptoms of a person with dementia, educate first responders on strategies to effectively communicate with individuals living with dementia and understand appropriate responses to dementia-related behaviors.
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State Affairs Contact: Jeremy Cunningham
Email: [email protected]
people living with Alzheimer’s in Utah
Utahans 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 Utah needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in Utah
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 Utah policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.