June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month; DHS rallies to support those living with Alzheimer's or other dementias

June 1, 2018

ATLANTA –­­­ Georgia Department of Human Services Commissioner Robyn A. Crittenden is calling on Georgians to show support for their fellow Georgian living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia as the state observes Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

“Every one of us wants to see a cure for Alzheimer’s, but it’s incumbent upon the state to thoughtfully plan and prepare to serve a growing population of Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers,” Crittenden said. “This is an issue that ultimately touches the lives of all Georgians. It is essential for us to come together as a state if we are to support the needs of this growing population and, one day, bring an end to Alzheimer’s.”

In a report released earlier this year, the Alzheimer’s Association projected that the number of Georgians living with the disease will reach 190,000 by 2025—a 35 percent increase over 2016. Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer’s topped $1 billion in Georgia in 2016, according to the report.

During the month of June, visitors to the Department’s website, dhs.ga.gov, and social media can learn more about innovative programs that will help caregivers and patients obtain diagnoses and manage care, and about statewide initiatives that foster collaboration among experts, advocates and stakeholders. DHS will also spotlight from Georgians who dedicate themselves to serving people affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
 
To ensure that as many Georgians as possible receive diagnoses and care, DHS is using a grant of over $4 million to assist Emory University in rolling out five Memory Assessment Clinics (MACs) in Georgia this year. The Georgia Memory Net project will establish clinics that can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s and related disorders and dementias, provide initial support and education to patients and their care partners, and link patients and their care partners with community resources who can provide ongoing support.
 
And, to ensure that state leadership continues to receive good information to meet the needs of those living with Alzheimer’s in the coming years, the Georgia General Assembly this year passed legislation to re-establish the Advisory Council for the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias (GARD) State Plan. Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Sen. Thorborn 'Ross' Tolleson Jr. Act (SB 444) into law in May. The Advisory Council will garner input from the GARD Workgroups to help advance the GARD State Plan. By evaluating practices and assessing trends on caregiver needs, individuals can be connected with the right resource at the right time. 

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