Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine headshot
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Assisted living will figure squarely into the work of a new Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Task Force created in the Buckeye State under S.B. 24, which Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed into law last week.

“This statewide panel of experts will help us improve services for patients and caregivers, build awareness about the disease and prepare our communities for the impact of an aging population,” said Sen. Kenny Yuko (D), who introduced the legislation with Sen. Steve Wilson (R). “We all know someone impacted by Alzheimer’s or dementia, and we owe it to them to seek out the best information out there,” he added.

The 28-member group, once appointed, will examine the needs of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, the services available in Ohio for them and the ability of healthcare providers and facilities to meet current and future needs. This examination will include looking at assisted living options and recommending ways to improve long-term care, including assisted living, according to the bill language. The body also will ponder quality care measures for assisted living; the number and availability of memory care units and providers; and home- and community-based services for people with dementia diagnoses.

The task force will include representatives from assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities and other care settings; a person living with dementia, or a family member; healthcare professionals; researchers; and legislators and other government officials. Additionally, the Ohio Assisted Living Association, LeadingAge Ohio, the Ohio Health Care Association and other advocacy organizations will have representatives on the task force.

Within 18 months of the bill’s effective date, the group must submit to the governor and state general assembly a report detailing its findings and recommendations for the next five to 10 years. Afterward, the task force will disband.

Approximately 220,000 Ohioans currently live with dementia, according to the senators.