Creation of Michigan’s first Dementia Unit
Michigan needs an advocate within state government to coordinate necessary state services for people living with and impacted by Alzheimer’s and all dementia. A dementia coordinator position within a new Dementia Unit at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services would take the lead in developing and updating the Alzheimer’s State Plan. With 190,000 Michiganders living with Alzheimer’s and over 500,000 caregivers providing needed care to these vulnerable residents, we need to ensure state government fully represents and serves all those impacted by this disease. With dedicated staff already in place for many other chronic diseases, we are calling on state government leaders to establish a permanent dementia coordinator position to advocate policy, secure federal funding, and leverage additional resources to better respond to the unique requirements and opportunities to address Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Expanding Access to Geriatrics and Neurology
The Michigan Essential Provider Program offers loan forgiveness to physicians and other health professionals that locate in underserved areas. However, Neurology and Geriatrics, two key specialties in the diagnosis and treatment of dementia, are not currently included in this program. The diagnosis of Alzheimer's and other dementia is often a barrier for treatment and a source of frustration for family members. Increasing the number of professionals trained in these specialties is an important step in addressing this concern over the long term. We support forthcoming legislation to add neurology and geriatrics to the list of eligible providers to ultimately increase access to care for people with dementia.
Protect Residents In Long Term Care Settings by Mitigating the Risk of COVID-19 and Addressing Social Isolation
The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, and is creating pressing challenges for long-term care (LTC) communities and residents, where people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias represent a large proportion of LTC residents. There are also growing concerns that social isolation among people with dementia has contributed to individual decline and stress among family caregivers who cannot assess the health of their loved ones. To best support individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia during the pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Association has released a comprehensive set of long-term care policy recommendations for lawmakers focused on testing, reporting, surge activation, and providing support. The Alzheimer’s Association will continue to urge state policymakers to prioritize long-term care in the COVID-19 response.
Michigan State Plan Overview
In 2003, the Michigan Dementia Plan Steering Committee released the state’s first Dementia Plan in partnership with the Department of Community Health. The Committee, which was composed of state agency, academic and advocacy organizations, and health care providers gathered significant stakeholder feedback to issue recommendations around public health, dementia training, caregiver support and access to home and community based services (HCBS). The Michigan Dementia Coalition - a collaborative group of community agencies, universities, dementia caregivers, and state government officials concerned about dementia and related conditions - led the development of the Michigan Dementia Plan Update: 2009-2011 and the 2019-2022 Roadmap for Creating a Dementia Capable Michigan. The recent Roadmap calls for increased access to HCBS, support for caregivers, and an increase in the number of geriatricians practicing in the state.
Michigan State Advocacy Day
April 27, 2021
Make your voice heard and join with fellow advocates from across the state to encourage legislators to support people living with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Take this opportunity to urge legislators to support a statewide dementia coordinator position, improve access to physicians in underserved areas, and prioritize rapid testing of people living and working in residential care facilities.