Alzheimer’s touches the lives of millions across the country, but here in Ohio an estimated 220,000 people are living with the disease, and Ohio is way behind other states in dealing with the issue.
Some estimates show the number suffering from Alzheimer’s will triple by 2050, and Ohio is not in a position to deal with that very well, according to lawmakers.
Politicians from both sides of the aisle say the state is an embarrassment when it comes to having a plan to deal with an increase in that population.
State Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) Wednesday held a press conference with joint-sponsor Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) at the Ohio Statehouse to reintroduce legislation to establish an Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Task Force to develop an official, comprehensive state action plan.
“Every other state in the Union has a plan on how to handle this crisis. Ohio does not have a plan,” Wilson said.
Rodney Blough is an example of that growing population. He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and Lewy body dementia. He accepted his prognosis quickly and has moved into advocating for people like him alongside his wife Jennifer. He says he worries for his family who will be responsible for his care
“I’ve certainly seen the effects of the diseases, both in terms of memory loss, cognitive reasoning ability and so forth,” Blough said. “ The apprehension I have is for my wife, my children because they have some responsibility of taking of me that they didn’t used to have.”
Jennifer said the couple has adapted their kitchen to include blackboards where schedules are written.
“I keep his schedule for the week, but now I have to write, “Today is Monday; Today is Tuesday,’” she said.
The stress is high and the couple is disappointed Ohio has no plan in place to help people like them going through something like this.
“Having the resources and the infrastructure here in Ohio is critical for not just Rod and I to live our lives well but other people,” Jennifer said.
If the bill passes, it will create a study group that will provide recommendations on a 5 to 10-year plan to help resolve those issues.