Washington State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
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
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.
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.
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.
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State Affairs Contact: Brad Forbes
Email: [email protected]
deaths from Alzheimer’s in 2019
in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia
increase of geriatricians in Washington needed to meet the demand in 2050
people living with Alzheimer’s in Washington
Washingtonians are providing unpaid care
Medicaid cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s (2020)
Resources to Drive Change in Washington
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 Washington policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.