ATLANTA (May 24, 2013) – Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford) held a joint press conference with members of the health care community at the State Capitol on Friday, May 24 to highlight recently released data from the 2011 Georgia Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’s (BRFSS) Cognitive Impairment Report. This comprehensive study details the cognitive and behavioral risk factors associated with memory loss.
“It was an honor to join with members of the health care community and interested stakeholders in announcing the findings of the BRFSS Cognitive Impairment Report,” said Sen. Unterman. “The invaluable data provided within this report will help advance our statewide efforts to provide Alzheimer’s patients and their families with the care they deserve.”
During the press conference, Sen. Unterman was joined by the Georgia Alzheimer’s Association, members of the newly-created Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan Task Force, the Georgia Department of Health, the Division of Aging Services at the Department of Human Services, and other interested stakeholders to discuss the results of the 2011 BRFSS Cognitive Impairment Report.
Commissioned to help analyze the risk factors associated with cognitive impairment, the 2011 BRFSS “Cognitive Module” targeted individuals who have shown continued signs of memory loss or confusion over the past twelve months. Through a confidential telephone survey, respondents were asked to report current health care behaviors and overall access to care. The data collected from this survey will help researchers, health care providers and state officials develop Alzheimer’s response plans to meet the growing needs of this population.
“The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey which is the world’s largest telephone survey, tracks health risks in the United States has been conducted in Georgia for thirty years on medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. 2011 is the first time that the Cognitive Module has been conducted in Georgia, and was done through a cooperative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health, and the Alzheimer’s Association. The findings are significant,” said Ginny Helms, Vice President for Programs, Services and Public Policy, Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter.
“We thank Senator Unterman for her partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter through raising awareness at both the state and local level and building the necessary groundwork for future legislative action. She leads with clarity, compassion and courage, truly making her a champion for those living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects nearly 5 million Americans. In Georgia alone, approximately 120,000 Georgians are living with this disease and require specialized care. The increase in Alzheimer’s disease and Related Dementias has also resulted in rising costs for our nation’s health care system. Nationwide, Alzheimer’s care costs approximately $189 billion annually.
As a result of this growing trend, Sen. Unterman sponsored Senate Bill 14, which created a statewide Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Taskforce aimed at assessing the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease in Georgia. The task force will also examine the state’s existing programs and determine the need for additional legislation. Through the creation of this task force, Georgia has joined 23 other states who have already published an Alzheimer’s response plan.
For an overview of the 2011 BRFSS report, you may click on the following link: http://www.alz.org/documents/georgia/cognitive_decline_in_georgia–data_from_the_2011_brfss.pdf
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