The Virginia Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission is updating the state plan and it wants to hear from affected individuals — both people with dementia and family caregivers.
The commission will hold one of its five state listening sessions from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, April 8 at Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ Big Stone Gap offices.
The Virginia Dementia State Plan outlines a strategic, coordinated approach to respond to dementia-related needs throughout the state, including goals, objectives and strategies the state can use to ensure the state is prepared to support individuals with dementia and their caregivers. The draft plan is available at www.alzpossible.org.
The commission is encouraging individuals with dementia and mild cognitive impairment, as well as family caregivers, to attend. Professional caregivers are also welcome.
The commission, the Virginia Department for the Aging and Rehabilitative Services, and the Alzheimer’s Association are expected to have representatives at the listening session. They’ll give a plan overview and will listen to the needs and challenges of individuals.
April 8 will be the only local opportunity for people who want to express their needs as well as for people who want to attend just to listen and learn more.
“The next closest one (listening session) is in Roanoke, which is quite a haul up the road,” noted Julia Dillon, MEOC’s director of in-home and family support services.
“Four years ago, when the original state dementia plan was started, they actually did a listening session here, and they were very pleased with the attendance, the number of caregivers we had, and they felt like it would be a good idea to bring it down to far Southwest Virginia this time,” Dillon said. About 50 people, including both professional and family caregivers, attended the last session.
“They’re going across the state and getting comments from caregivers about the plan and their ideas about caregiving and any issues they may be having concerns about, so we’re very thankful they’re coming down to Big Stone Gap,” Dillon said.
MEOC offers an array of caregiver services, including respite, transportation, support groups and adult day care. Caregivers also use the Emergency Fuel Fund during the winter months.
For more information about MEOC caregiving services, call 276/523-4202 and speak with a case manager.
Call 523-4202 or email Dillon at email@example.com for more information about the April 8 listening session.
Anyone who cannot attend the listening session but would like to submit comments on the draft state plan may email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 804/662-9154, or mail them to Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, attn.: Charlotte Arbogast, 1610 Forest Ave. Suite 100, Henrico, Va. 23229.