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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: June 13, 2013


NEW CASTLE - Town hall meetings are scheduled in each of Delaware counties June 24-26 to solicit community input on a preliminary Delaware state plan for meeting the needs of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and supporting their families.

A task force co-chaired by the Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities and the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter is seeking public input on Delaware's comprehensive state plan. The town hall meetings will offer people in the early stage of Alzheimer's, caregivers, healthcare professionals and other community members the chance to learn more about Delaware's plan, as well as provide views, comments, perspectives and input on the plan.

The schedule of town hall meetings, each of which begins at 6 p.m., is:

The plan is available for review at Community comments will be reviewed by the task force at its July 24 meeting at which time the plan will be finalized and posted.

Last year, the National Alzheimer's Plan -- the first national strategic plan to deal with the growing numbers of Americans who have Alzheimer's or are expected to be diagnosed with the fatal disease - was released. As many as 5.4 million Americans, including 26,000 Delawareans are living with Alzheimer's disease. By 2050, the U.S. number could nearly triple to as many as 16 million individuals. In response, Delaware is drafting a complementary statewide plan.

"With Delaware's fast-growing aging population, it is extremely important that caregivers and others directly impacted by Alzheimer's disease have opportunities such as these town hall meetings to share their stories, concerns, and valuable experiences as part of our efforts to more effectively address their needs," Gov. Jack Markell said. "With the Alzheimer's Association and other community partners, we must increase and improve our ability to help individuals deal with the burden of Alzheimer's disease. And we must increase the public's awareness of those resources."

"The Alzheimer's epidemic is here and growing. Alzheimer's disease, an incurable, degenerative brain disease, is quickly becoming the public health crisis of the 21st century," said Katie E. Macklin, Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter. "Now is the time for Alzheimer's to be a priority, and it is imperative that the entire Delaware community come together in the fight against this disease. It's an opportunity to be a part of shaping the future of Alzheimer's care and support in our state."

One of the major goals of the National Alzheimer's Plan is to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025. Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and behavior. Individuals with Alzheimer's eventually lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.

Most people survive an average of eight years after diagnosis. However, some individuals can live with Alzheimer's for as many as 20 years, placing increasingly intensive care demands on caregivers and negatively affecting their health, employment, income and financial security. As the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer's disease is the only cause among the top 10 without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.

"The vast majority of caregivers in Delaware are unpaid, caring at home for those they love," said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. "What they need in return from all us are supports and services that will enable them to provide that care without exacting a toll on their own physical, mental or emotional health. As researchers seek ways to prevent or cure Alzheimer's, we can coordinate our efforts to do more for Delawareans with the disease and their loved ones caring for them."

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Its 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.

To find aging and disability services in Delaware, contact the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center at (800) 223-9074 weekdays from 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Staff members can provide personalized assistance to help families find and use community services. The resource center's website,, helps people to search by county for health services, adult day care, assisted living, caregiver support services, financial assistance, physical therapy, and transportation. A free comprehensive resource, "Guide to Services for Older Delawareans and Persons with Disabilities" is offered through the website or by calling the center.

To download a copy of Delaware's comprehensive state plan, go to:

For more information about Alzheimer's disease and services in Delaware, go to:

To reach the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center, call (800) 223-9074 or visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.