older woman in a garden

Kentucky is devoting full-time resources to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia under a measure signed into law last week.

Senate Bill 74, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester) and signed Friday by Gov. Andy Beshear, establishes an Office of Dementia Services (formerly the Office of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders) and a full-time dementia services coordinator. The coordinator will oversee the state plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and dementias in Kentucky and will identify federal funding opportunities.

The coordinator also will manage the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Council.

The 15-member council, under the Department of Aging and Independent Living, will have representation from the long-term care industry, including residential long-term care, as well as representation from local health departments, regional Alzheimer’s associations, consumers, healthcare providers, the medical research community and state government. 

Alvaro said that the Office of Dementia Services will “better coordinate fragmented dementia-related services within the (Cabinet for Health and Family Services) and open up potential access to federal funding that would yield cost savings on the back end.”

The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter promoted the legislation, saying it will have a direct and tangible effect on people living with dementia as well as professional and family caregivers.