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Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 9:47am

Alzheimer's Task Force Begins Work

Georgia’s new Alzheimer’s task force meets for the first time Thursday to begin developing a plan so the state can adequately serve a growing number of residents and caregivers dealing with the disease.

State lawmakers created the Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Task Force earlier this year after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a national Alzheimer’s plan.

“As the legislation noted, this is a looming national health crisis, and it affects far more people than we realize: Not only people who have dementia themselves, but also their families and the organizations that may employ caregivers,” said Cynthia Haley Dunn, community affairs manager with the state Division of Aging Services

The Alzheimer’s Association projects that 160,000 Georgians will have the disease by 2025, a 45 percent increase from 2000.

Dunn has been organizing 50 advisors to the six-member task force, which will have a draft state plan for dealing with those swelling numbers by the end of the year.

“To some extent, it is an issue of migration of people who are older -- they’re primarily settling in areas in the northern part of the Georgia,” Dunn said. “It’s also a factor of advances in medical technology.”

The task force must submit its final recommendations and legislative proposals by March.

Find out more about the task force and how you can get involved on the Division of Aging Services website.

Read more about lawmakers’ charge to the Alzheimer’s Task Force in Senate Bill 14: