Aging population needs access to dementia care
By State Sen. Rich Taylor
Iowa, like the rest of the nation, is aging.
As of 2010, Iowa ranked seventh in the nation -- behind such states as Florida -- for the percentage of our state’s population that is 60 or older. Iowa ranks third for the share of our population aged 85 or older. Between 2000 and 2010, the share of Iowa’s older residents increased from 18.9 percent to 20.4 percent. (The federal Older Americans Act defines older individuals as those aged 60 and over.)
With Iowans living longer than ever, we face both opportunities and challenges.
One challenge is an increase in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 62,000 Iowans have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, and that dementia is the fifth largest cause of death in Iowa. Seventy percent of Iowans with dementia live at home and approximately 133,000 unpaid caregivers assist them.
Representatives of the Alzheimer’s Association - Greater Iowa Chapter, the Iowa Department on Aging and the Northeast Iowa Agency on Aging recently told legislators about their work to ensure our loved ones have access to dementia services at home and in our local communities. A new federally funded initiative to study and reform the aging services network may be a big help to those who wish to remain independent and safe in their communities by providing access to the full array of dementia services.
To learn more about this work and other aspects of dementia, including the 10 warning signs of dementia, go to www.alz.org/greateriowa.
UPCOMING PUBLIC FORUMS
• Friday, February 20, 12 noon: Fort Madison at the Palm’s Supper Club
• Saturday, February 21, 8:30 a.m.: Fairfield at the Best Western Hotel
• Saturday, February 21, 10 a.m.: Washington at the Courthouse
• Friday, February 27, 12 noon: Keokuk at the Hawkeye Steak House
• Saturday, February 28, 8:30 a.m.: Mount Pleasant at the IWC Library
This is a legislative update from Senator Rich Taylor, representing Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties. For newsletters, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/taylor.
To contact Senator Taylor during session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at home at 319-931-1568. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Taylor is chair of the Local Government Committee. He also serves on the Economic Growth, Human Resources, Judiciary, and Justice Systems Budget committees.