The Alzheimer’s State Planning Task Force will hold a public hearing to discuss the future of Alzheimer’s disease and policy implemtations to address its growth Thursday, July 7 at 3 p.m. at Sunshine Terrace Retirement Center in Logan. A Senate bill passed in the January Utah legislative session created the 20 member task force of senior care services representatives, area agencies on aging, physicians, family members impacted by the disease, and state and local government representatives. In order to assess the already available resources and services for those suffering from Alzheimers, public hearings are to be held across the state to recieve input on the current impacts community members directly or indirectly face because of the disease. Allison Richman, the Alzheimer’s specialist at the Bear River Association of Governments (a partner in the task force), says Utah is a leader in the amount of residents suffering from Alzheimer’s and those numbers are only going to rise. Utah will lead the nation in dementia growth by 2025 with a 127% increase. “Recognition on what a huge, huge, affect it has on our society is one thing I don’t think people are aware,” says Richman on the goals of the meeting, “so just even letting people recognize that and seeing the whole big picture I think is the idea.”Current policies that could see changes include the increased expense of Medicare and Medicaid for Alzheimer’s patients (up to three times more than other seniors), time off work for Alzheimer caregivers, and services available to those with the disease. “There will have to be some creative thinking on what we can do,” Richman says.The Alzheimer’s Task force will report its finding from the public hearings to the legislature in November.
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