By Michelle LaFrance, Public Policy and Public Relations Specialist at Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter —
Alzheimer’s remains the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed and must remain a health care priority across the country. More than 23,000 Rhode Islanders are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Because age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, the rapidly growing number of older Americans will lead to a corresponding rapid growth in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is projected to grow from more than 5 million today to as many as 16 million in 2050. With the increasing prevalence of the disease, states will be on the frontlines of this growing epidemic and must take action now to be prepared. In response, 5 years ago, Rhode Island developed its first state Alzheimer plan, now being updated – and we need to hear from you!
As part of his effort to update Rhode Island’s State Plan on Alzheimer’s, Lt. Governor Dan McKee in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association, is launching a series of Town Hall meetings across the state to collect input from Rhode Islanders whose lives have been impacted by the disease.
In February, Lt. Governor McKee and the Alzheimer’s Association secured funding through Tufts Health Plan Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation to update the State Plan, a comprehensive blueprint for how Rhode Island will address the growing Alzheimer’s crisis. The funding allowed the Lt. Governor’s Office and the Alzheimer’s Association to partner with Splaine Consulting, a nationally-recognized research firm specializing in public health policy. Splaine has extensive knowledge of the national Alzheimer’s landscape and firsthand experience in crafting state plans across the country. Splaine has been tasked with creating an updated plan that explores the current impact of the disease in Rhode Island and outlines what steps the state must take to improve its services for people with Alzheimer’s and their families.
Anyone with an interest is welcome – persons living with dementia, family and professional caregivers, health and long term care workers, curious citizens, and students. “Many states across the country are addressing the needs of families and caregivers through their Alzheimer’s disease state plans. By participating in a community town hall conversation, you help shape the quality of care that you and others receive in the future,” says Donna M. McGowan, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Rhode Island Chapter.
The Town Hall series kicks off on Monday, August 6th in four communities:
Warwick Public Library, Central Library: 600 Sandy Lane, Warwick, RI 02889, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Wood River Health Services: 823 Main Street, Hope Valley, RI 02832, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Benjamin Eddy Building: 6 S. Killingly Road, Foster, RI 02825, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Hope Alzheimer’s Center: 25 Brayton Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
For more information, please contact Michelle La France, 401.421.0008 ext 9705; firstname.lastname@example.org