Georgia

GEORGIA 2019 STATE POLICY PRIORITIES

Increase Public Awareness, Early Detection And Diagnosis

Support Funding for the Alzheimer's Awareness Campaign

The trajectory of cognitive disease in the US and Georgia is staggering. Deaths from Alzheimer's disease increased 123% between 2000 and 2015 while deaths from heart disease have decreased by 11%. In Georgia, there has been a 201% increase in Alzheimer's deaths during the same period. The Alzheimer's Awareness Campaign will provide one-time funds for a culturally appropriate public health campaign on brain health, the risk of cognitive decline and driving earlier and more accurate diagnosis of symptoms. The Georgia Department of Public Health does awareness campaigns on other chronic diseases, and is expert in conveying this type of messaging to Georgians. Georgia Memory Net is now up and running. These five memory assessment centers will be better able to provide the initial diagnosis and on-going care, and provide care planning and referral to community resources while they support those community healthcare providers in their continuing care.

Increase Access to Home and Community-Based Services

Support Funding for In-Home Care

We support the Coalition of Advocates for Georgia's Elderly (COAGE) priority of $10 million in Non-Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services funding. While 83 percent of the help provided to older adults comes from family members, friends and other unpaid caregivers, nearly half of all caregivers who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer's or another dementia. Alzheimer's takes a devastating toll on caregivers. Home and community based services allow people with dementia to remain in their homes while providing family caregivers much needed support. The Association is also working with state agency officials to review the existing coverage available to Georgians living with Alzheimer's and their caregivers, to ensure commitment to the provision of a core set of person-centered, dementia-competent, and dementia-specific home and community-based services for these individuals, regardless of age or financial status. We are further reviewing current Medicaid and non-Medicaid financial and functional eligibility requirements for these services, to confirm that they are at a level that ensures the ability of individuals with Alzheimer's and other dementias are able to live in the most appropriate setting.

Enhance the Quality of Care in Residential Settings

Creation of an "Options for Senior Living" House Study Committee

Partnering with the Coalition of Advocates for Georgia's Elderly (COAGE), the Alzheimer's Association seeks to expand access to affordable senior living options to help seniors that can no longer live at home, do not qualify for Medicaid, do not need the assistance of a nursing home, but cannot afford Assisted Living. Housing for older Georgians needing help with activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing and dressing is hard to find for low income seniors. While Medicaid funding is available to qualified seniors for some personal services, that funding is limited and does not cover housing expenses. Often, the result is that low-income older adults who can no longer remain in their homes independently end up in costly Medicaid nursing home beds. Also an issue for many Georgians living with Alzheimer's or another dementia, caregivers often struggle to care for their family member with dementia at home and wear themselves out trying to that care and maintain their traditional role wife, mother, and hold down a job. However, many individuals with Alzheimer's or other dementias are not yet in need of the care provided in a nursing home, but due to the cost of Assisted Living, cannot afford that option. Georgia needs to explore innovative financial options for senior living to provide residents with a degree of privacy and independence while emphasizing health, safety and wellness. Other states offer some level of assisted living care through their Medicaid programs and, as a result, relieve financial pressure on their state Medicaid budgets. As we pursue this option, we will also work with the Georgia Alzheimer's and Related Dementias State Plan Advisory Council in reviewing the issue of Ensuring Access to Quality Long Term Care, as directed in 2018's HR 1292. This review would include but not be limited to the options of updating Medicaid requirements regarding financial and functional eligibility to allow those with Alzheimer's and other dementias to live in the most appropriate setting, ensuring that Medicaid reimbursement rates for residential facilities reflects the higher cost of care for individuals with Alzheimer's, or updating Medicaid requirements regarding financial and functional eligibility to allow for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias to live in the most appropriate setting.



Georgia State Plan Overview

In 2013, the Georgia General Assembly established the Georgia Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias State Plan Task Force through passage of Senate Bill 14 to research the current and future impact of the disease and develop a strategy to mobilize the state response to the growing public health threat posed by Alzheimer's. The Task Force included representatives from state agencies, local health departments, research institutes, law enforcement, care provider associations, elder law, and community organizations as well as state legislators, caregivers, community members, and individuals directly impacted by Alzheimer's. Building upon previous work completed by the Georgia Division of Aging Services, the Task Force solicited public input and drafted the Georgia Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias State Plan. The plan was published in June 2014.



ADVOCACY EVENTS

Georgia State Advocacy Day

February 05, 2019

Alzheimer's Awareness Day at the Georgia State Capitol will bring together Alzheimer's Champions assigned to a key legislator and other key advocates from across the state to hear an update on our platform issues, to meet with legislators at the Capitol and provide them a leave-behind of information. These advocates are building year-long relationships with their legislators, and will also bring to them the latest information on Facts & Figures, BRFSS data, and the Association's most pressing state policy priorities.


2020 Advocacy Forum

March 22-24, 2020 alz.org/forum

As an Alzheimer's advocate, you've worked to advance critical public policy, making a difference in the lives of all those impacted by Alzheimer's. Together we've achieved great increases in federal Alzheimer's research funding and secured critical advances in care and support. But we can't take our successes for granted — we need to keep the pressure on.

Join us in Washington for an inspiring three-day event filled with networking, training and education.

Be part of the movement that's making a difference in the fight against Alzheimer's.


Sign Up to Learn More About Advocacy Opportunities in Georgia


Sign me up to participate in the upcoming State Advocacy Day!

State Affairs Contact Kathy Simpson | 404-728-6068 | [email protected]



Elected Officials

Enter your address here to see your elected officials' positions on Alzheimer's and ways you can contact them to support the Alzheimer's community.



Alzheimer's Facts and Figures in Georgia

Number of People Aged 65 and Older With Alzheimer's by Age

Year 65-74 75-84 85+ TOTAL
* Totals may not add due to rounding
2019 27,000 67,000 53,000 150,000
2025 33,000 90,000 63,000 190,000

Percentage change from 2019

Medicaid

$1.18

BILLION

Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer's (2019)

33.5%

change in costs from 2019 to 2025


Medicare

$23,698

per capita Medicare spending on people with dementia (in 2018 dollars)


HOSPICE (2016)

9,873

#

of people in hospice have a primary diagnosis of dementia


22%

of people in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia

Hospitals (2015)

1,528

#

of emergency department visits per 1,000 people with dementia


21.1%

dementia patient hospital readmission rate

Caregiving

533,000

Number of Caregivers

607,000,000

Total Hours of Unpaid Care

$7,678,000,000

Total Value of Unpaid Care

$317,000,000

Higher Health Costs of Caregivers

Number of Deaths from Alzheimer's Disease (2017)

4,298

6th leading cause of death in Georgia
248% increase in Alzheimer's deaths since 2000

For more information, view the 2019 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report at alz.org/facts.


U.S. Statistics

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, and as many as 14 million will have the disease in 2050. The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias is estimated to total $290 billion in 2019, increasing to $1.1 trillion (in today's dollars) by mid-century. Nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer's or another dementia.



FOLLOW US