Support the Creation of a Dementia Coordinator Position in Maryland
As the Virginia I. Jones Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Council prepares to publish Maryland’s new Alzheimer’s State Plan, a key to translating the plan into action — and to ensure effective programs for people with dementia and their caregivers — is enhanced coordination across state agencies. Effective implementation of the Alzheimer’s State Plan can help reduce the long-term impact of the disease on state budgets and improve the lives of Marylanders with dementia and their caregivers. In 2022, the Alzheimer's Association will urge state legislators to approve creation of a full-time dementia coordinator position within state government.
Elevate the Quality of Care in Small Assisted Living Facilities
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Maryland's nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where over 42 percent of the residents have Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. In Maryland, there are over 1,700 assisted living facilities and over 75 percent of them have 10 or fewer beds. These smaller providers have been exempt from COVID reporting requirements and many other COVID-related regulations because of their size. However, it is important to now prioritize these many smaller providers, examine the quality of care they provide, and consider how we can ensure their financial stability. Therefore, the Alzheimer’s Association will advocate for legislation requiring the Maryland Health Care Commission to examine the quality of care within Maryland's small assisted living providers.
Help Dementia Caregivers Navigate Maryland
In Maryland, more than 1 in 5 unpaid caregivers are providing aid to a loved one with dementia. More than 1 in 3 provide more than 20 hours per week, and nearly 58 percent have been providing dementia caregiving aid for over two years. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on legislators to support forthcoming legislation that would require the creation of a dementia care navigator role at each of Maryland's Area Agencies on Aging. These navigators will provide families with dementia-specific case management, provide tips and support to caregivers, & improve care coordination and transitions. They will also be able to provide community education and mobilize dementia-specific community resources and supports.
Maryland State Plan Overview
In 2011, Governor Martin O'Malley issued executive order 01.01.2011.21 establishing the Virginia I. Jones Commission on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders to evaluate the impact of Alzheimer’s in Maryland and issue a State Plan with recommendations for state policymakers. The Commission, which included caregivers, health care providers, community organizations, and state agencies, published the Maryland State Plan on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders in December 2012.
In October 2013, the legislature established the Virginia I. Jones Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Council into law (Chapter 305, Acts of 2013) to continue the work of the previous Commission. The Council's charge included monitoring the 2012 Maryland State Plan on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders devised by the Commission. In reviewing State statutes, policies and programs, the Council was to improve and enhance quality of life and support, and services for individuals living with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders and their families, by promoting and expanding the availability and accessibility of home- and community-based support and service programs.
In 2019, the state enacted legislation (Chapter 410 of 2019) extending authorization of the Council to 2024 and expanding its charge to update and advocate for the Maryland State Plan on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. The Council will also now examine the needs of individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders and their caregivers identify how the State can assist most effectively and advise the Governor and General Assembly on Alzheimer’s related policy and funding issues. The Council is also now charged with developing and promoting strategies that encourage brain health and reduce cognitive decline.
Maryland State Advocacy Day
February 14, 2022
Join Alzheimer's advocates from across Maryland for a chance to advocate for our policy priorities, and engage elected officials about important initiatives statewide. We will not have just one advocacy day but instead an advocacy week! There will be an exciting series of morning events with policymakers to discuss key issues related to our bill priorities. Each evening, our advocates will have the chance to engage their elected officials. Never advocated before? No problem! We’ll train you and there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions before meeting with state officials. Details will be forthcoming in early 2022 about a training session and this amazing series of events!