VA Dementia State Plan (DRAFT)

After input from a state-wide series of public listening sessions and from dementia researchers, the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission has drafted the Dementia State Plan: Virginia’s Response to the Needs of Individuals with Dementia and their Caregivers.

The Commission is now welcoming public comment, until October 19th, through this website (click on “Leave Reply” below) or by emailing

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To print the document from your machine, you can download it here.

6 Responses to VA Dementia State Plan (DRAFT)

  1. HoyleJD says:

    Thank you, Commission, for putting this together. I think this is a helpful framework for legislators – to consider next steps.

  2. Susan Jones says:

    The Dementia Plan holds great promise. Glad to see emphasis on increasing community/home based resources. If we are not proactive in the Commonwealth, we stand to be devastated by the cost of dementia care–cost in dollars and resources but especially cost in quality of life for our vulnerable adults and our communities, as well as the cost of compromise to the integrity of our families.

  3. This is a great effort and should help a lot of people if implemented well. I urge the Commission to involve the financial services community. Financial services firms are on the front lines of recognizing a problem and can do a lot to help people with dementia protect their financial security.

    Medical research indicates people with early stage dementia rapidly lose the ability to manage their finances. This decline often happens before friends and family realize there is a problem. Meanwhile, a person with undiagnosed dementia may inadvertently throw away his life savings due to poor decision making or fraud.

    Working with customers with dementia the same way as healthy customers, is like asking someone in a wheel chair to live in a house without ramps or wide doors. The financial services community can serve customers more efficiently and help customers and their families protect themselves if they understand the challenges of dementia. Personal finances are daunting to most people. The Commission can help people with dementia and their families by helping financial firms understand the important role firms have.

  4. zimmer58 says:

    As a graduate student of social work and aging studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, I applaud these recommendations and would like to offer a couple of comments.

    In a 9/8/2010 article in the Washington Post, reporter Kevin Sieff writes, “Deerfield, Virginia’s only geriatric prison, is where the state’s inmates are sent to grow old. Since the General Assembly abolished parole for the newly convicted in 1995, the number of elderly inmates in custody has soared. In 1990, there were 900 inmates over the age of 50. Now there are more than 5,000. Deerfield Correctional, which once housed 400 inmates, has become a 1,000-bed facility with a long waiting list.”

    Because aging in prison is an issue affecting the State of VA, and aging is the primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease, I would love to see Correctional Facilities woven into these recommendations. Moreover, this is warranted because prisoners comprise a population with unique needs. (For example, is it ethical to require an elderly person with dementia to complete his/her lengthy/life sentence when he/she can no longer remember the crime or how they ended up where they are?)

    Here are places where recommendations could be added:

    Under Goal II:A, “Collect and monitor data related to dementia’s impact on the people of the Commonwealth”, I would love to see under #2 something to the effect of, “The prevalence of dementia-related diseases among incarcerated populations” and/or “The availability of dementia-specific services in correctional facilities.” This would help policymakers and public health services get a handle on the scope of the issue. From there, perhaps better legislation or provision of services would follow.

    Under Goal III:B, “Provide dementia-specific training to professional law enforcement, financial services personnel, and the legal profession,” I would add under #1, “Develop, collect and implement dementia-specific training for Department of Corrections personnel.”

    Lastly, unrelated to aging in prison, under Goal V:C, “Promote research participation in Virginia,” I would love to see something that recommends collaboration with state universities’ gerontology or aging departments (for example, the VCU Department of Gerontology) which encourages and promotes research amongst graduate- and doctoral-level researchers . I see that Goal 2b speaks to serving as a resource for university IRBs but is there anything else that can be done in partnerships with universities to promote research?

    Thank you for considering my comments.

    ~Fran Quintana

  5. sdeboever says:

    The plan appears quite comprehensive. To carry out the plan and based on the size of the state and sad but true inequities in available services, a team of coordinators may be required as opposed to one person – or satellite coordinators simply to gather all the necessary information to move forward. The current tool used for assesment for facility placement is inadequate and does not allow for a true reflection of needs or remaining areas of strength which are equally important. The people I see starting to get lost more in the service cracks are those with the dementias such as Pick’s and Lewy Body that people are basically scared of because they are only aware of negative aspects and have little to no postive behavior support available – either through training or from the community. These are also the persons most difficult to try to support in the home. Thank you to all who worked obviously very long and hard on this plan.

  6. Aging Together supports the recommendations laid out in the Dementia State Plan, especially the collaborative aspect. We have seen this model result in significant improvements in services and community life for older adults and their caregivers when utilized in our region.
    Aging Together has replicated the work detailed in Goal III (Increase Awareness & Create Dementia Specific Training) and has found law enforcement and first responders to be especially responsive to education about dementia. We recommend this objective also include collaboration across the identified groups to help develop effective strategies toward supporting older adults with dementia and preventing abuse or neglect of these vulnerable Virginians.

    We also note that the faith community is not specifically referenced in the report, especially as a support to family caregivers and as part of the network that can effectively disseminate information to caregivers and older adults.

    The section addressing Dementia Specific Training should include an emphasis on training family caregivers. Hands on training using local resources for family caregivers has become a regular event in our region and is widely praised and utilized by family members. It has been an extremely affordable option when developed through collaborations among community resources. Aging Together is willing to share this model with other communities.

    We support the objective in Goal III regarding linking caregivers and people with dementia to information and services in rural communities. Implementation in these areas needs to take into account the differences between rural and urban Virginia. Even within rural communities there are wide discrepancies and “personalities” across localities. Aging Together has learned through our model that work can be done successfully on a local and a regional basis concurrently. Using this dual focus encourages buy in and engagement leading to more effective strategies and ultimately more genuine participation.

    Aging Together supports VDA as essential to creating more awareness of dementia in Virginia. We encourage building a broad stakeholder base, including the membership of the Commission. Goals and objectives fostering proactive, evidenced practices in care transitions across a variety of settings could be strengthened. We also recommend consideration of language and practices that reference and promote significant culture change including community based service delivery and person centered planning and service delivery.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this plan. Aging Together offers our assistance in advocacy for and implementation of the plan as you move forward.


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