Expand Awareness about Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Dementia
Early detection of dementia and Alzheimer’s means individuals receive better medical care and health outcomes and can plan for future needs, secure medical desires and make their wishes known. Research suggests that a large number of people living with Alzheimer’s are not properly diagnosed and many are unaware of their diagnosis. Additionally, there is evidence that African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos with dementia are less likely to have a diagnosis than whites, even though they are 1.5- 2 times more likely to have the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association supports legislation that requires the Maryland Department of Health--in coordination with the Virginia I. Jones Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Commission, the Maryland Department of Aging, and the Alzheimer's Association--to conduct outreach to engage clinicians and individuals in Black and Latino communities about important issues such as: early detection, diagnosis, and the Medicare annual wellness visit.
Empower Home Health Workers with Dementia Training
Home health workers play a critical role in keeping individuals living with Alzheimer's safe and healthy in their homes and communities. These individuals provide companionship, basic medical services and enable people with dementia to stay in their most familiar and intimate environment. However, without proper training on how to recognize the signs of dementia and how to effectively communicate with people with dementia, the quality of care may decline. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on legislators to support forthcoming legislation in Maryland that will require ongoing dementia-specific training for home care workers on understanding specific behavior symptoms, effective communication strategies, and person-centered care.
Setting a Framework for Memory Care in Maryland's Assisted Living Facilities
Maryland does not currently regulate or even define “memory care” or “special care units.” This has created a great deal of confusion for consumers about the disparate level of services that can be advertised as “memory care.” The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state legislators to require the Maryland Department of Health to address memory care in its forthcoming update to the state’s Assisted Living regulations. The state must consider critical issues such as admissions/discharge criteria and staffing ratios in order to support people with dementia and their families seeking high quality care in specialized memory care units across the state.
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
March 01, 2021
Join your fellow Maryland Alzheimer’s advocates for an opportunity to engage elected officials, and advocate for a better future for Maryland residents with Alzheimer's and dementia.