New report about dementia now available

RICHMOND - Virginia should prepare for an increase in the number of residents suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, state officials say.

Helping such individuals is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue, but an issue for all citizens, said Del. Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave).

"All of us have family members or friends or neighbors who have been impacted by Alzheimer's or dementia," Landes said. "And as we have an aging population, more and more of us are going to face these challenges the older we get."

He was among six legislators who participated in a press conference last week to call attention to a new report on how to address the issue. Also at the event were officials from the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, which provides services to improve the lives of older Virginians with disabilities and their families.

Alzheimer's disease affects 130,000 Virginians today. As more baby boomers turn 65, this number is expected to grow to 190,000 within 10 years, according to Robert Brink, the department's deputy commissioner.

Charlotte Arbogast, coordinator of dementia services for the agency, said the department recently conducted a study of the best programs and practices for people living with dementia. The report discusses music, art, animal and other alternative therapies as well as memory assessments and cutting-edge technology to work with individuals with dementia.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015