The typical path for Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia, is now understood to begin in middle age and progress slowly over the next couple of decades before it begins to interfere with daily life. More than 70% of people with dementia live in their own homes or in the home of a family member, and spend the majority of their time living with dementia at home in the community.
The years while a person is in the early stages of a progressive dementia are critical for making important decisions about future care, putting safety measures in place, and making lifestyle changes to ensure the journey is as smooth as possible for the person with dementia and caregivers. If a diagnosis is made early enough, the person with dementia may use these years to accomplish life goals before they become unreachable.
The Community Awareness and Services section of the Plan has fourteen strategies to help families understand what is happening and to prepare for the future. These strategies fall within the three main categories listed in the next section.
Increase Understanding and Awareness of Dementia:
- Expand the Dementia Care Specialist Program in Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs).
- Promote dementia friendly communities.
- Ensure community-based dementia services are culturally competent.
- Facilitate access to dementia care resources through outreach, information and referral; web based resources.
- Promote the use of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) dementia curriculum.
Facilitate Early Identification and Intervention:
- Expand capacity for dementia screening and diagnosis.
- Provide early stage programming and support.
- Engage the medical community in the dementia initiative.
- Increase the capability and capacity of Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) in providing dementia care service.
Provide Support for Family Caregivers:
- Expand access to caregiver education and support programs.
- Expand and update Alzheimer's Family Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP).
- Promote dementia care volunteer programs.
- Promote dementia-friendly work environments.
- Dementia-Friendly Guidelines for:
- Reports on:
- Building Dementia-Friendly Communities Toolkit
- Expanded the Dementia Care Specialist Program.
- Promoted Dementia Friendly Communities in collaboration with AARP through tele-town hall meetings that reached over 42,000 AARP members.