Results from the 2013 State of Illinois Alzheimer’s Disease Plan Survey

Have you ever wondered what the heck Illinois is doing to meet the needs of families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease?

If so, you may find the results from this survey interesting. Administered by the Alzheimer’s Association’s Greater Illinois Chapter, it reveals that Illinois is indeed doing something about Alzheimer’s through the array of programs and services it provides (hooray!). You’ll also find that Illinois has a lot of work to do regarding making its residents aware of those services and helping people access them.

(c) Alzheimer's Association

(c) Alzheimer's Association

Over 700 Illinois residents completed the survey to share their opinions and experiences. Not all of it was rosy, but not all of it was damning, either. Here are some highlights that intrigued me:

  • Over half of the people surveyed (52.5%) said they were either “not very familiar” or “not at all familiar” with the programs and services Illinois offers individuals and families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Close to 30% said that when they received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, no information was provided to them regarding local programs, services, and resources that could help them.
  • More than 63% of respondents said that the State of Illinois was not doing enough to address the needs of its residents with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
  • A whopping 85% felt that Illinois should spend more money to fund programs that provide Alzheimer’s care. Less than 1% thought that Illinois should spend less money on this kind of care.
  • More than 86% of people believed that Illinois should provide a tax credit for long-term care insurance expenditures.
  • Over 64% of those who answered the survey said that they trusted the Alzheimer’s Association to provide the best information about Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

What struck me about this report is that although Illinois does offer a range of services to meet the needs of families facing dementia, people either aren’t aware of those services, can’t find them close to home, or can’t afford them. One survey question asked, “How would you rate the availability of services for people with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia in your area?” Check out the responses:

  • We can’t find any services locally (4.7%)
  • There are a few services, but they are very expensive (25.7%)
  • There are a few services that are affordable (18.7%)
  • There are adequate services but they are too expensive (12.2%)
  • There are adequate services and they seem affordable (5%)
  • We have lots of options at all price ranges (3.3%)
  • We don’t know what the services in our area are like (30.4%)

That’s a lot of folks who need services but who either can’t find them or can’t afford them. And that’s just not right. Given the dire condition of our state budget, it’s stunning to see that 85% of respondents want Illinois to spend more money on Alzheimer’s care, and only 1% want Illinois to spend less. It shows the aching importance of this issue to families who are living with Alzheimer's every day.

I applaud the Alzheimer’s Association for conducting such a useful survey to show the State of Illinois that it has work to do. I’m glad that Illinois has an array of services in place, but what benefit are they if families are not aware of them or cannot access them due to geographic availability or cost?

One more thought. I’m glad that respondents put their trust in the Alzheimer’s Association when they need to find high quality information. The organization is top-notch, and it’s the first place I send people when they come to me looking for help.

If you want to see the full report, click here. And please share your thoughts on the important questions asked in this enlightening survey.

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