Expand the Dementia Care Specialist Program Statewide
The Dementia Care Specialist (DCS) Program supports people with dementia and their caregivers in order to ensure the highest quality of life possible while living at home. Wisconsin funds 29 county-based dementia care specialist positions and 5 tribal DCS positions across the state. These positions provide cognitive screenings, administer programs that engage individuals with dementia in regular exercise and social activities as well as promoting independence, all to help ensure individuals with dementia are able to remain in their home longer. While the 2021-2023 State Budget promises to be tight, delaying the need for expensive, publicly-funded institutional care saves taxpayers more than $160 per day or nearly $60,000 annually. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on legislators to fund an additional 48.5 DCS positions in order to reach a full, state-wide expansion of this important and cost-effective program.
Enact Recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Caregiving
There are over 195,000 Wisconsinites providing unpaid care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Providing this care often comes at a great expense both financially and to the caregiver’s health. The Alzheimer’s Association, in collaboration with multiple other advocacy organizations is advocating that the recommendations adopted by the Governor’s Task Force on Caregiving be included in the 2021-2023 State Budget. The recommendations include proposals to address issues related to both family caregiving and the direct care workforce crisis. The Alzheimer’s Association is particularly focused on the proposals that directly impact individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their caregivers including the “Credit for Caring Act” and the “Medicaid Nursing Home and Personal Care Reform” proposal.
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.
Implement the Wisconsin State Dementia Plan 2019-2023
Wisconsin is in the process of implementing its updated State Dementia Plan for 2019-2023. As a member of the Steering Committee for implementing the updated State Dementia Plan, the Alzheimer's Association is uniquely qualified to advocate for the goals and priorities contained within the Plan. The Alzheimer's Association will be working with its advocates to secure legislative and policy changes in Wisconsin where the updated State Dementia Plan is consistent with the Association's National State Policy Priorities. Please contact your State Legislators and request that they support the recommendations of the State Dementia Plan Steering Committee.
Improve the Oversight of Memory Care Facilities
Wisconsin 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 support legislation to define the core set of services and minimum standards required for a facility to be called a “memory care facility” or “special care units.”
Wisconsin State Plan Overview
In October 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) convened the Dementia Care Stakeholder Summit to discuss a redesign of the state’s dementia care system in order to provide appropriate, safe and cost-effective care throughout the entire course of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. With input from the Summit, DHS released a draft State Plan for public comment and review. The DHS incorporated the stakeholder input into its final published report, Dementia Care Redesign: A Plan for a Dementia-Capable Wisconsin, released in February 2014.
In 2018, DHS conducted a public survey to get input from people with memory loss or dementia, family members and people who informally care for someone with memory loss or dementia, and professionals that work with those who have dementia and their families. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) convened the 2018 Dementia Summit and brought together key stakeholders from the dementia care system including family caregivers, Alzheimer’s and dementia advocacy organizations, representatives from state and local health and human services agencies, state legislators, clinicians, researchers, home care providers, and long-term care providers. Taking into account the results of the public survey, the participants of the Dementia Summit agreed on priorities in four major focus areas: 1) Care provided in communities where people live; 2) Improving how health care providers diagnose and care for people with dementia; 3) Responding to crises involving people with dementia; 4) Care provided in assisted living, nursing homes, and other residential facilities. These priorities form the foundation of the current Wisconsin State Dementia Plan: 2019–2023.
The State Plan is designed to be a five-year plan, to be implemented from 2019 through 2023 under the guidance of a small State Plan Steering Committee that engages many additional partners to serve on four distinct work groups that convene to implement the goals and strategies in the state plan. These four work groups are focused on: care in the communities, health care, crisis response, and facilities.
Wisconsin State Advocacy Day
March 22, 2021
In 2021, the Wisconsin Chapter held its first-ever Wisconsin Alzheimer's Virtual Advocacy Days on March 22nd and March 24th. More than 280 Wisconsinites from across the state registered to participate on both virtual Advocacy Days. On March 22nd participants viewed a special welcoming message from Governor Evers and First Lady Kathy Evers. We also hosted a bipartisan legislative panel discussion with Representatives Steineke and Hesselbein, and a presentation by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. On March 24th, attendees participated in a review of Wisconsin's Alzheimer's Facts and Figures, a training session on Wisconsin's 2021-2023 State Budget priorities, and a presentation on how to tell your Alzheimer's story by Paul Braun, the former voice of the Wisconsin Badgers.