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Friday, September 24, 2021

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State Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias


The Hawaii Executive Office on Aging, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, Aloha Chapter, has formed a special Task Force to develop a State Plan on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD).

In 2014, in Hawaii, there are approximately 25,000 individuals 65 and over who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. This is a conservative estimate, because there are likely more who are undiagnosed or who develop dementia before age 65, or those with memory loss who have not been diagnosed. The single greatest risk factor in developing ADRD is age, and as the baby boomers reach 65, dementia cases will rise. Over 5.2 million people nationwide have ADRD.

One in eight adults 65 and older will develop ADRD, with the risk doubling every five years. One in two people age 85 will develop ADRD. This age group is the fastest growing segment of Hawaii’s population. Nationally, the fastest growing population of those with dementia are Early Onset cases affecting people under age 65 – over 200,000 people in the United States.

Furthermore, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause among the top 10 without prevention, cure or a way to slow the progression. The number of deaths of Americans from Alzheimer’s Disease has soared 66% since 2000, while death rates for other major diseases like cancer and heart disease, have declined.

The first ever National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, released on May 15, 2012 shares this vision: “For millions of Americans, the heartbreak of watching a loved one struggle with Alzheimer's disease is a pain they know all too well. Alzheimer's disease burdens an increasing number of our Nation's elders and their families, and it is essential that we confront the challenge it poses to our public health.” -- President Barack Obama

To address this public health issue locally, the State Task Force will assess the current and future impact on the residents of Hawaii. The final report will be presented to the 2014 Legislature, recommending a comprehensive State Plan that utilizes the feedback and expertise of healthcare professionals, caregivers, service providers and community leaders.

“It is our hope that the Task Force will help develop the infrastructure and accountability to ensure that Hawaii’s system of long-term care supports and services are responsive to the needs of individuals living with dementia and their family caregivers,” said Wes Lum, Director of the Executive Office on Aging.

Hawaii State Task Force Vision
We are committed to embrace and support with Aloha, all of Hawaii’s people who are touched by Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias – from early detection to end of life – always keeping alive the hope of prevention and eventual cure, and aiming for the best quality of life for all.