COLUMBUS—In a bipartisan move, the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to help the state confront the sweeping economic and social impact of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Senate Bill 24, introduced by State Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) and Ohio Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights), calls for the creation of a process that will lead to an official plan of action to address Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Among the issues the plan will address are Alzheimer’s as a critical public health issue, the importance of early detection and diagnosis, resources for caregiver support, as well as safety concerns like wandering and driving. The legislation is now headed to the Governor’s Office.
Currently 220,000 Ohioans live with Alzheimer’s, a fatal progressive brain disease with no known cure, effective treatment or way to slow its progression. For each one, there are two to three caregivers who also need support, making an estimated one million Ohioans directly affected by the disease. By 2025, an estimated 250,000 Ohioans aged 65 and over will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease—a 13.6 percent increase. Last year, Medicaid costs associated with Alzheimer’s stood at a staggering $2.36 billion.
Eric VanVlymen, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter, said, “This is essential legislation that will enable the State to address the current and growing Alzheimer’s epidemic.”
Currently, Ohio has no formal state plan to address the growing health crisis caused by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and Ohio is the only state without a formal process to create a plan. Senator Wilson said, “I am grateful for the support of my House colleagues in passing this important legislation. Senate Bill 24 will ensure Ohio is equipped to confront the sweeping impact of Alzheimer’s disease.”
“I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes that will result from this legislation,” he added.
Trey Addison, State Public Policy Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, said having a state plan will help guide the Alzheimer’s Association’s work to provide and enhance care and support for all affected and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
“Alzheimer’s is not just an aging issue, it’s a public health issue,” Addison said. “The Alzheimer’s Association advocates for all families dealing with Alzheimer’s and aims to educate the public on how to reduce their risk of dementia. We applaud the General Assembly for moving this important work forward.”
To connect with the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter, visit alz.org/Dayton or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.