North Dakota’s State Plan for the Aging Population Afflicted with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

alzheimer's, dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 14,000 North Dakotans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and the figure is expected to escalate to 16,000 by 2025. In fact, a recent article claims that Alzheimer’s is the third leading cause of death in North Dakota, making it the state with the highest death rate from Alzheimer’s in America. Therefore, the State of North Dakota has taken measures accordingly to deal with the problems of the aging population of North Dakota. The State Plan covers four major areas:

  • Home or Community Based services for Care giving
  • Justice for the Elders
  • Care Planning and Skills Development of the Staff
  • Discretionary Grants

In this blog we will only examine Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related objectives of the North Dakota’s State Plan for the aging population.

Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP)

Support services and respite care is provided to the caregivers under ND Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP).  These services are extended towards the family members who have to look after aged people over 60 years or those individuals carding for dementia or Alzheimer’s-afflicted patients. FCSP is also supports grandparents who have to care for children less than 18 years of age as well as adult children with disabilities between the ages of 19 years and 59 years.

Family caregivers are given special training to cope with the challenges of looking after people with dementia with the help of the North Dakota Dementia Care Services Program (DCSP). DCSP was established as a result of the 2009 Legislature. The program provides training and consultation services to caregivers, law enforcement agents, law enforcement, and the public in general about dementia, it’s detection, symptoms, and treatment options.

Public Awareness

Awareness about the cognitive impairment and disabled seniors needs to be spread in order to curtail elder abuse and assist in early detection of Alzheimer’s and dementia, which affects patient outcomes greatly. The State Plan does not just incorporate education and awareness pertinent to the cognitive impairment diseases.  It also focuses on activities related to resolve the issues suffered by the afflicted seniors about housing, insurance, and improvement of the quality of life the aged population through services and activities approved by the state. ND Human Services Department and Medical Services Division are working in collaboration with the HUD, ND Housing Financing Agency, and other public housing authorizes in the state to address housing issues through webinars. Ageing Services Division uses funds to initiate programs for prevention of diseases and promotion of health of those areas that are medically under-served. Currently classes and training is delivered in 24 counties but it is expected to expand in the future.

Medicaid and Medicaid Waiver

Medicaid services are provided for the long term care of dementia and physically impaired seniors. Medicaid Waiver services and programs are also provided to aged individuals requiring nursing and care at assisted living facilities or in-home supervised care. However, as Alzheimer’s is expected to affect more people, the state will have to meet the challenges in providing services and resources to the aging population. Community services and enhanced cooperation from the public sector, private sector, and NGOs will be needed for the development of better care systems for the ageing population of North Dakota.