Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are feared illnesses. Increasing numbers of articles, reports, TV and radio shows constantly inform us of the impact of these illnesses upon individuals, families and society.
These growing concerns prompted Gov. Tom Corbett to address the need for a plan for Pennsylvania to deal with the estimated 400,000 citizens already affected. Executive Order 2013-01 created the Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee to develop a plan for the Commonwealth.
The Planning Committee, led by Brian Duke, Secretary, Department of Aging, consists of 26 members including elected officials, researchers, health care providers, advocates and persons under care. This group is charged to provide a plan by early 2014.
Six regional meetings have been scheduled to provide an opportunity for public input. Four meetings have already been held where families shared their personal experiences of seeking services, paying costs, and facing obstacles.
The next Alzheimer’s Planning meeting will be Sept. 16 at the Clarion Hospital, 1 Hospital Dr., in Clarion at Exit 62, Interstate 80. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and will be the only one with a focus on the unique needs of persons living in rural areas. Additional information is available at: www.aging.state.pa.us. Individuals are invited to present comments in person or by email at email@example.com.
There is significant need to hear from families, caregivers and others directly impacted by Alzheimer’s and related diseases. Personal stories and experiences will be valuable to the deliberations of the Alzheimer’s Planning Committee and critical to the effort of preventing, delaying onset and treating Alzheimer’s. The PA Council on Aging will be working closely with the Alzheimer’s Committee as it moves toward the creation of a state plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
John Kordish, Chair
PA Council on Aging-Northwest Regional Council