Tennessee's New Plan to Address Alzheimer's Created by Council with 3 Alzheimer's Tennessee delegates
Tennessee State Plan on Alzheimer's and Related Dementia Submitted to Gov. Lee on January 15.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee received a new plan to address Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia on Wednesday, January 15. The plan to serve more than 120,000 Tennesseans living with dementia and their 439,000 caregivers was developed by the Tennessee Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Advisory Council.
“I am proud to serve on the Advisory Council,” says Janice Wade-Whitehead, President and CEO of Alzheimer’s Tennessee. “The Plan we produced will bring together resources from government, not-for-profit agencies and the private sector to produce the best possible infrastructure to serve Tennesseans living with dementia and their families. However, our work is not finished. The Council will continue to meet and advise the state on the evolving needs of those living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the Volunteer State.”
Tennessee Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Advisory Council also includes Alzheimer’s Tennessee Board Member Reverend Richard Brown of Payne Avenue Missionary Baptist Church and Alzheimer’s Tennessee Advocate Dr. David Compton, a person living with mild cognitive impairment as well as state government officials and other stakeholders interested in Tennessee’s senior community.
The Council was created by legislation supported by Alzheimer’s Tennessee and passed unanimously by the Tennessee General Assembly last April. The law signed by Governor Lee on May 10, 2019 set out four broad tasks:
- Continually assess the current status of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in this state and to assess the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia on Tennessee residents;
- Examine the existing industries, services, and resources addressing the needs of persons, families, and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia;
- Develop a strategy to mobilize a state response to matters regarding Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia; and
- Provide recommendations to the governor and to the general assembly on issues related to its work.
The Act required the Council to develop and submit an Alzheimer's Disease State Plan to the General Assembly by January 15, 2020. It is also tasked with updating the plan and reporting to lawmakers no later than January 15 of every year.
The Council met four times in 2019. The early meetings focused on the first charge in the law to “assess the current status of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in this state and to assess the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia on Tennessee residents.” The third and fourth meetings focused on the third and fourth charges of the law, “to develop a strategy to mobilize a state response” and to “provide recommendations to the governor and to the general assembly on issues related to its work.”
The Advisory Council developed a strategy to mobilize a state response to issues impacting those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Testimony presented at the Advisory Council meetings, other states’ plans on Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias, and data collected during the needs assessment were considered by the Advisory Council. It then developed four overarching goals.
Goal 1: Educate and Empower Tennessee to be “Dementia-Aware”
Goal 2: Support and Empower Persons with Dementia and their Caregivers
Goal 3: Ensure an adequately prepared workforce
Goal 4: Promote Research
The Advisory Council is committed to ongoing collaboration to update this the state plan annually or as needed. The Council continues providing recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly on issues related to Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the State of Tennessee.