Alzheimer’s patients and their families will benefit from the adoption of best practices and other services as a result of legislation signed into law today by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 6124, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, calls for the development of a state plan to promote cognitive health and better coordinate long-term services and support systems for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. The bill passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan majorities.

“Nearly 150,000 Washingtonians and families are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, and these numbers will only increase as baby boomers get older,” Keiser said. “It’s imperative that we begin a comprehensive state effort to help people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”

SB 6124, which passed both chambers with bipartisan majorities, creates a working group to address:

  • policies to promote early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia;
  • ways to reduce the stigma toward those who have this disease and help those who live alone; and
  • how to coordinate approaches to dementia care and encourage best practices.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a public health epidemic. An Alzheimer’s state plan is a critical step in preparing our state to meet the needs of the thousands of Washingtonians who are, and will be, affected by this devastating disease,” said Bob Leroy, chief executive director of the state Alzheimer’s Association. “With Sen. Keiser’s leadership, broad bipartisan support and the passage of SB 6124, the important work of developing the plan can now begin.”

The working group will also explore ways to protect vulnerable adults from predatory guardians who take advantage of the elderly.