With an executive order signed Friday by Gov. Jeff Colyer, Kansas became the 50th state to work toward establishing a plan to address the effects of Alzheimer’s on those who have the disease as well as the organizations and family members who provide care and services for them.

The Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group will have approximately 20 members, including legislators, citizens, representatives of dementia-related organizations and other stakeholders, said the governor, a Republican. Among those members will be one representative of the assisted living industry, one representative of the nursing home industry and one representative of the home healthcare / hospice industry, according to the executive order.

“Kansas is the only state in the nation that is not currently drafting or implementing a comprehensive Alzheimer’s Disease Plan,” Colyer, who has a medical degree and is a craniofacial / plastic surgeon by training, said in a press release announcing the order. “It is my hope that this working group will provide research, guidance and recommendations so we can begin developing one of these plans immediately.”

More than 53,000 residents of Kansas have Alzheimer’s, and more than 151,000 people in the state care for them, the governor said.

The working group in part will:

  • Assess the current and future effects of Alzheimer’s disease on residents of Kansas;
  • Examine the existing industries, services and resources addressing the needs of those with Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers; and
  • Develop a state response.

The task force will submit a report and recommendations to the state legislature and governor by Jan. 14, 2019.