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Buck-Taylor: Alzheimer’s Task Force Report Represents Critical Work

April 3, 2014

HARTFORD —A special task force created by the legislature last year reports that an estimated 70,000 people in Connecticut over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, and it warns the number is expected to increase dramatically, state Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor said.

The report, available here, finds that issues tied to providing adequate care will be a significant challenge in the state over the next two decades.

“The work of this task force is critically important,” said Buck-Taylor, a New Milford-based attorney who over the years has managed many conservatorship cases. “Finding proper care and cutting through red tape can be enormous hurdles for people affected by these varied forms of dementia—people who simply want peace of mind. This report recommends courses of action that are worth further discussion.”

The Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia force was established to study Alzheimer’s and dementia related care within the state and produce recommendations to improve services.

Among the report’s recommendations:

• Conducting public awareness campaign to better connect patients and caregivers to resources.

• Promote Medicare annual wellness visits include cognitive assessment for early detection and diagnosis

• Developing training programs for employees of financial institutions to reduce the risk of financial exploitation of the cognitively impaired.

• Increasing funding and support for informal and family caregivers.

• Encouraging family, medical, and estate planning for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia, to ensure wishes of the individual are carried out, minimize family disputes, and reduce burden courts

• Studying the financial impact of developing Dementia Care Centers at Connecticut hospitals.

• Requiring dementia-specific training for nursing home staff, home health aides, and other caregivers; public safety responders; and emergency room staff.

The legislature is considering proposals tied to Alzheimer’s, including S.B. 179, born from the task force’s recommendations on training at nursing homes.

For information on Connecticut resources for those with Alzheimer’s or related diseases, see the Connecticut Statewide Respite Care Program and the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. The Connecticut Commission on Aging provides updates on legislative activity relating to the elderly and Alzheimer’s care.