Washington State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview 

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In March 2014, Governor Jay Inslee signed Substitute Senate Bill 6124 (SSB 6124) calling on the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to convene an Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group (ADWG) to develop a Washington State Plan to address Alzheimer’s disease. The working group included professional and unpaid caregivers, people living with Alzheimer's disease, and other health care experts. The Washington State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias was published in January 2016. Leading the charge to implement the plan is the Dementia Action Collaborative — a group of public-private partners committed to preparing Washington State for the growth of the dementia population.

Washington 2024 Policy Priorities

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Secure Funding for a Dementia Coordinator Position

Washington is home to 120,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s and 300,000 unpaid caregivers. By 2025, the number of Washingtonians living with Alzheimer’s is estimated to increase by 16.7%. As the population with dementia grows, coordination between state agencies that administer programs for people living with dementia and their caregivers is crucial. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state legislators to appropriate $168,000 in state funding for the establishment of a full-time state agency position that will coordinate the state’s dementia initiatives within the Department of Health. This position will oversee implementation of the State Alzheimer’s Plan and serve as a liaison between state agencies, the governor, the legislature, and private sector stakeholders to ensure the state has a coordinated and effective approach toward addressing Alzheimer’s and other dementia.

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Empower Professional Guardians with Dementia Training 

Due to the impact of dementia on a person’s ability to make decisions and in the absence of other advanced directives, people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia may need the assistance of a guardian. Once appointed, a guardian may make decisions for the individual that relate to the person’s health, well-being and economic interest. With such responsibility, it is imperative that  appointed guardians receive training on interacting with individuals living with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to appropriate $100,000 in state funding for dementia-specific training for professional guardians in Washington.

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Expand Dementia Awareness Across Washington State 

Washington currently administers a dementia awareness program in 20 counties throughout the state. Current state funding for the program is inadequate to meet the existing needs of Washingtonians throughout other areas of the state, and this shortfall will only grow as the population with dementia continues to increase in Washington. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to appropriate an additional $50,000 in state funding per year for the expansion of the dementia awareness program to the remaining counties in Washington — most of which are rural and underserved. With the historic approval of treatments that slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in the early stages, understanding the early signs of dementia and receiving an early diagnosis is more important than ever.

Find My Chapter

Together, we’re making an impact. Find an Alzheimer’s Association chapter in your community for more ways to engage.

Contact Us

State Affairs Contact: Brad Forbes

Phone: 206.529.3867

Email: [email protected]

3,585

deaths from Alzheimer’s in 2019

20%

in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia

216.7%

increase of geriatricians in Washington needed to meet the demand in 2050

120,000

people living with Alzheimer’s in Washington

300,000

Washingtonians are providing unpaid care

$547 Million

Medicaid cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s (2020)