Until There is a Cure, Alzheimer's Disease will Touch Us All

Anita Harvey

Caregivers like Anita Harvey feel the strain and need for more support. "The Alzheimer's Association may be making great strides in research [and] increasing awareness," Anita says, "but doctors, nurses, hospitals, and care facilities need to be working just as hard … until there is a cure."

Since early 2014, an Alzheimer's Disease Working Group has examined the needs of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, services available to meet these needs, and the capacity of the state and current providers to meet these and future needs. Recently the group released a draft state plan to guide public and private sectors in addressing the growing population of diagnosed individuals in Washington.

Currently in Washington state, over 100,000 individuals live with Alzheimer's and other dementias. This number is expected to grow to 140,000 in just a few years.

The draft Washington State Plan to Address Alzheimer's addresses:

  • Meeting the needs of caregivers.
  • Reducing stigma associated with dementia.
  • Raising awareness about Alzheimer's and other dementias.
  • Increasing availability and affordability of long-term services.
  • Increasing the quality and availability of paid aides.

Community members can learn about and discuss the draft plan at one of 11 town hall meetings across Washington state in October and November 2015, hosted by the Alzheimer's Association, the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support, and research:

Kelso: Tuesday, Oct. 6, 5:30–7:00 p.m. at the Kelso Senior Center

Richland: Wednesday, Oct. 7, 1:30–3:00 p.m. at Richland Public Library

Spokane: Thursday, Oct. 8, 6:30–8:00 p.m. at Gonzaga University Law School

Sequim: Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1:30–3:00 p.m. at the Shipley Center

Seattle: Friday, Oct. 16, 6:00–7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish

Everett: Wednesday, Oct. 21, 6:00–7:30 p.m. at Carl Gipson Senior Center

Kent: Friday, Oct. 23, 2:30–4:00 p.m. at Kent Senior Activity Center

Tacoma: Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6:00–7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church

Mt. Vernon: Friday, Oct. 30, 1:30–3:00 p.m. at Mt. Vernon Senior Center

Yakima: Wednesday, Nov. 4, 9:30–11:00 a.m. at Pacific NW University of Health Sciences

Wenatchee: Wednesday, Nov. 4, 5:00–6:30 p.m. at Aging & Adult Care of Central Washington

"Until there is a cure, Alzheimer's disease will, in some way, touch us all," says Anita. "One day you may find yourself walking in my shoes." Read about Anita's caregiving journey in Walking In My Shoes (AlzWa Blog, 9/9/15) and Something Amazing Happened Pt. 2 (AlzWa Blog, 9/22/15).

Are you a caregiver? The Alzheimer's Association is one of 11 agencies that provide free consultations for primary, unpaid caregivers throughout King County. Visit the King County Caregiver Support Network webpage for more information.

For more detailed information about the town hall schedule, visit alzwa.org or call the Alzheimer's Association at 206-363-5500. The Association's mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer's.