Utah Legislature: Alzheimer's plan advances

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A Senate committee on Monday advanced a resolution that would guide Utah through a staggering increase in the number of state residents with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

Sen. Karen Morgan, D-Salt Lake City, said the main purpose of SJR1, the Alzheimer's State Plan Joint Resolution, is to educate the public about the monetary and social costs of the degenerative brain disease.

A 20-member task force that met last summer made recommendations that have been included in SJR1, including public education, health care and dignity for those with dementia and those at risk, more support to family caregivers, improvements in care and more research.

Utah is projected to have the nation's fastest-growing rate of dementia diagnoses by 2025, according to the Utah Alzheimer's Association. Eighty diseases cause dementia, the most common of which is Alzheimer's.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Patty Henetz