Virginia State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
The Virginia Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission serves as an advisory board within the executive branch and assists people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia as well as their caregivers and families. In 2009, the Commission began collecting public input to inform a state plan on Alzheimer’s. In December 2011, the Commission published the Dementia State Plan: Virginia’s Response to the Needs of Individuals with Dementia and their Caregivers. The Commission updated the Dementia State Plan again in 2015, 2019 and most recently in 2024 with the publication of The Virginia Dementia State Plan 2024-2027: Building a Dementia-Capable Virginia. In consultation with the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services, Department of Medical Assistance Services, Department of Social Services and Virginia Department of Health, the updated state plan encompasses updated goals for addressing Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
Virginia 2024 Policy Priorities
Empower First Responders with Dementia Training
First responders such as emergency medical services (EMS) workers and firefighters often interact with people living with dementia while intervening in crisis or disaster situations. Individuals living with Alzheimer’s may present as uncooperative when they have difficulty communicating and understanding what is happening, and first responders may not know how to work with individuals in these situations. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging Virginia lawmakers to mandate dementia training for EMS personnel and firefighters, establishing a minimum of four hours of dementia-specific training with continuing education requirements.
Expand the Reach of the Dementia Care Coordinator Program
First established in 2020, the Dementia Care Coordinator program provides coaching for caregivers of individuals living with dementia on navigating caregiving duties in the home to dealing with finances and complex legal processes. Though the program received a funding increase in 2022, the current reach of the program is inadequate to meet the existing needs of caregivers for people living with dementia. This shortfall will only grow as the dementia population continues to increase in Virginia. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state lawmakers to expand the Dementia Care Coordinator program into underserved areas of the state that are disproportionately affected by dementia.
Spread Awareness of Alzheimer’s Across Virginia
Spread Awareness of Alzheimer’s Across Virginia
150,000 Virginians are living with Alzheimer’s, but as many as half of them are not formally diagnosed. With current promising treatments only effective in the early stages of the disease, getting an early diagnosis is more important than ever. The Alzheimer’s Association, in partnership with the Department of Health, is urging state officials to implement public awareness initiatives and programs that highlight dementia-related issues across the Commonwealth, particularly among underserved communities. These initiatives aim to enhance the public’s understanding of the importance of risk reduction and obtaining a timely and accurate diagnosis.
Secure Funding for the No Wrong Door Program
Virginia’s No Wrong Door (NWD) program is a person-centered system and statewide network that serves older adults, caregivers, individuals living with disabilities, veterans, and their families by connecting them to providers and offering assistance to those seeking services and support. As the number of Virginians living with dementia grows and family caregivers have to navigate the health care system, incorporating dementia into the NWD program can help mitigate the future impact. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to support funding to incorporate the Dementia Capability project into the No Wrong Door Program. Funding would support the addition of cognitive screening questionnaires, training for program staff and users, and enhance data collection efforts.
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State Affairs Contact: Joshua Myers
Email: [email protected]
people living with Alzheimer’s in Virginia
Virginians are providing unpaid care
Medicaid cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s (2020)
deaths from Alzheimer’s in 2019
in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia
increase of geriatricians in Virginia needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in Virginia
The following resources developed by AIM and the Alzheimer’s Association will help you learn more about the issues impacting people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, how Virginia policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.