Texas five-year plan to address Alzheimer’s
On April 23 scientists, researchers, caregivers, Alzheimer’s Association leaders and department of health officials gathered in Austin to unveil the five-year Texas State Alzheimer’s Plan. I was there to hear these experts talk about research advances as well as what has yet to be done to help patients and their caregivers. Texas is among the more than 25 states that have launched plans to deal with this huge health issue in light of our growing elderly population. I’ll attach the link to the plan at the bottom of this post so you can read at your leisure, but its basic outline consists of five basic goals for our state, which I’ll paraphrase from the plan.
1) Support Alzheimer’s research.
2) Improve cognitive health throughout our life spans
3) Ensure those with Alzheimer’s have better quality of life through better disease management
4) Give caregivers improved access to Alzheimer’s disease/dementia care information and services, and thereby, improved levels of support
5) Ensure Texas will have better state and local capacity to address Alzheimer’s.
This plan is still in draft form, but I found it rather hopeful to learn that so many fine minds are at work on this issue. A few names of the researchers who spoke: Robert Barber, PhD., head of the Texas Alzheimer’s Research Consortium; Dr. Roger Rosenberg, Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center, whose current research focuses on an Alzheimer’s vaccine; Sid E. O’Bryant, PhD., researcher at Texas Tech who studies aging in diverse ethnic communities; Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD., founder and chief director for the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas; Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder of the Cooper Aerobics Center and known across the globe as the father of Aerobics.
The Texas plan has multiple strategies and objectives in order to realize these goals. I encourage you to contact your local Alzheimer’s Association if you have questions about this plan. If you live outside of Texas, ask your local chapter if there is a plan in your state, and if not, what’s being done to formulate one. It’s my understanding that the Dallas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (www.AlzDallas.org) is going to have town hall meetings so that the public can ask questions and have further input. If you have questions, please visit their site, or call them: 1.800.272.3900. The Alzheimer’s Association answers calls 24/7.
Here is the link to the Texas state plan: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/alzheimers/pdf/DRAFTTEXASPLAN.pdf
Also, I’ve been meaning to post these two interesting links:
http://www.thiscaringhome.org/ – from Weill Cornell Medical College, a site with videos, animations, and product guides for caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s.
http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/ — Sandra Bond Chapman’s Center for BrainHealth.