Maryland residents invited to champion critical Alzheimer’s legislation

MCLEAN, Va. – The Alzheimer’s Association will host its annual Maryland State Advocacy Week from February 14 – 18, featuring virtual opportunities for Marylanders to learn about policy priorities and engage with their legislators on key issues. Highlights of the week’s events include:

  • Feb. 15 at 10 a.m.  Maryland State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Stevanne Ellis will discuss her office’s vital work during the pandemic to aid seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

  • Feb. 17 at 10 a.m.  Maryland Secretary of Aging Rona Kramer and Maryland Department of Aging Deputy Secretary Bernice Hutchinson will share Maryland’s plan for its seniors over the next five years.

  • Feb. 18 at 10 a.m.  Quincy Samus, chair of Maryland’s Virginia I. Jones Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Council, will present the Council’s new Alzheimer’s State Plan.

““The Alzheimer’s Association is grateful to Maryland Department of Aging Secretary Rona Kramer, State Long-Term Care Ombudswoman Stevanne Ellis – a hero during the COVID-19 pandemic – and most importantly, our advocates, said Eric Colchamiro, Director of Government Affairs for the Alzheimer’s Association in Maryland. “Our annual state advocacy week presents an opportunity for our advocates to come together virtually to engage elected officials and learn from policymakers.”

In addition to the meetings above, there will be opportunities for community members to meet virtually with their legislators. Meetings confirmed to date include:

  • Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m.  Charles County residents meeting with Senator Arthur Ellis and Delegate Edith Patterson.

  • Feb. 17 at 4:30 p.m.  Prince George’s County residents meeting with Delegate Nick Charles

  • Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m.  Calvert County residents meeting with Delegate Mark Fisher.

The Alzheimer’s Association has three Maryland legislative priorities this year to support the 100,000 Marylanders living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and the 238,000 state residents – family members and friends – who provide their unpaid care.

  • Support Dementia Caregiving in Maryland Communities requires an ongoing appropriation from each Maryland Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to have a dementia caregiving navigator (DCN) on staff. The DCN supports family caregivers through care planning and referral to support groups and education. Fostering dementia-friendly communities through outreach events, scheduling professional consultations and offering cognitive screenings are additional services. Maryland Department of Aging (MDoA) grants fund each AAA based on a formula calculating the number of county residents with dementia.   
  • Develop a Dementia Capable Maryland State Government requires the Maryland Department of Health to establish a full-time director of dementia services coordinator to oversee dementia services. This includes implementing the Maryland Alzheimer’s state plan that manages the Virginia I. Jones Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders Council. Other measures include identifying and supporting the development of dementia-specific training and applying for grants to expand and improve services for affected Marylanders. This legislation is sponsored by Senator Malcolm Augustine (Prince George’s County) and Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample-Hughes (Dorchester and Wicomico Counties).
  • Improve the Quality of Care in Maryland’s Assisted Living Facilities requires the Maryland Health Commission to conduct a study to elevate the quality of care at Maryland’s 1,276 assisted living facilities with 10 or fewer beds. These smaller providers, who comprise 76 percent of the state’s assisted living facilities, care for 29 percent of the patient population. Assessing standards of care at these facilities increases knowledge about the unique role they provide for vulnerable seniors. This legislation is sponsored by Delegate Lisa Belcastro (Baltimore County) and Senator Pamela Beidle (Anne Arundel County).

Registration is required to receive the Zoom links to participate in one or more of these free virtual public meetings. To view the complete schedule, learn more and/or to register, visit alz.org/nca/volunteer/advocacy/maryland. For additional information on Maryland Advocacy Week and/or these legislative priorities, contact Eric Colchamiro at mdadvocacyday@alz.org.

About the Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia®. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.

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