State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier has been re-appointed to the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Advisory Council. 

According to a media release from the State Representatives office, the Council was established in August 2018 as part of the Act Relative to Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias in The Commonwealth. The law created the advisory council and an integrated state plan to effectively address Alzheimer’s disease, and requires that content about Alzheimer’s and related dementias be incorporated into physicians, physician’s assistants, registered nurses and practical nurses continuing medical education programs that are required for the granting or renewal of licensure. 

The work of the Council is both important and impactful... I am pleased to be able to offer my services on behalf of the many people in the Berkshires and throughout the Commonwealth who are impacted by Alzheimer’s and related diseases. ~ Farley-Bouvier 

 

Currently there are about 130,000 people in Massachusetts living with dementia supported by over 340,000 family caregivers, and because it is estimated that 50 percent of Americans living with dementia are undiagnosed, it is likely that there are at least an additional 130,000 residents living with this condition without a formal diagnosis.  

Furthermore, an estimated 40% of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, or their caregivers, are unaware of the diagnosis. The Alzheimer’s Advisory Council provides opportunities for policymakers to work with a wide range of stakeholders from across the state to pool their expertise and resources.  

The idea that there are so many undiagnosed individuals and then so many others are not informed of their diagnosis is stunning.  

 

The Council is charged with advising the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Legislature on Alzheimer’s disease policy. The Council is comprised of the Secretary of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and a diverse panel of public health professionals, clinicians, health care providers, researchers, legislators, dementia advocates, and caregivers.  

The work of the Council is divided into Work Groups. Representative Farley-Bouvier co-chairs the Diagnosis and Services Navigation Workgroup with Jim Wessler, CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter and New England Regional Leader. In the last year they created recommendations and implementation strategies for diagnosis and service navigation. 

For Representative Farley-Bouvier, her work on the Advisory Council is personally meaningful. As with many people, she has family members living with dementia.  Most impactfully, her mother was diagnosed with early onset dementia when the Representative was a child. 

Like many on the Council, I seek to bring a perspective of lived experience that can take policy and craft it into action plans that have a genuine impact on individuals living with dementia and the people that care for them. 

 

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