June 14, 2016
I am pleased to recognize the important work of the Montana Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias Workgroup.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures report, there are 19,000 people living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia in Montana and another 49,000 family members and friends providing their care. In every corner of this state, families are struggling with the stress of caring for loved ones who are experiencing the debilitating effects of degenerative brain diseases.
In response, a voluntary group of essential stakeholders: healthcare professionals, advocacy groups, state agency officials, legislators, care providers, family caregivers and passionate citizens came together to form the Montana Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias Workgroup. Over the ensuing months, this group conducted extensive research, collected data, held town hall discussions with hundreds of Montanans, and examined best practices in dementia care. This thorough evaluation by the Workgroup culminated in the development of priority areas and action steps to prepare Montana to meet the immediate and future needs of people affected by these devastating diseases.
Montana’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Action Plan: Addressing the Current and Future Needs of Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias identifies 11 major goals that will support the needs of individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. I am committed to continued and collaborative work to achieve these goals.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the Montana Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias Workgroup for their diligence and devotion to this effort. Montana now has a framework to cooperatively address the full range of issues surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. While the scientific community seeks treatments and curative therapies, Montanans will continue working together to improve the vital services and supports for individuals and families facing the disease today.
I am also pleased to light the Capitol Dome purple on June 20 th , 2016 in honor of the “Longest Day,” an event during summer solstice that highlights the journey of those living with this disease and the experiences of their families and caregivers.