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Ohio creates Alzheimer’s task force to learn how they can serve families better

Posted at 6:32 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 18:49:14-04

Janice Vincent works hard to remember the good times.

"She has such a love of cats, she loves her cats and she still brings them up every now and then and she misses them,” said Vincent.

Then she quickly snaps back to reality.

"She suffers from depression, she hallucinates a lot,” she said. "Right now, she currently thinks she's a child and keeps waiting for her mother to pick her up and take her home from the nursing home.”

Vincent’s 92-year-old mother Nola Morey has Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed six or seven years ago.

"At night I would sleep with one eye and one ear open and keep an eye on her all night because she didn’t sleep a lot and was prowling all night,” said Vincent.

Morey is now in a nursing home and Vincent hasn’t seen her because of COVID.

"I wish I could hug her and sit and hold her hand while I’m talking to her,” she said.

The last few years have been particularly challenging for their entire family, but the state is hoping things will get better for future residents living with the disease.

"As a state we need to be thinking about what we can do to build up the network for early detection and then scalability, how do we scale our services to ensure that more families get help now and in the future?” said Eric VanVlynen, the regional director for the Ohio Alzheimer’s Association.

VanVlynen is talking about the state’s new initiative to form a task force to fight Alzheimer’s disease in Ohio.

"They’re going to look at the data, how much is that costing Medicare? How do long term care facilities and other long term care providers, how are they doing? How do people live at home? Are they getting meals?” he said.

By law, this task force has 18 months to come up with a plan. Ohio will be the very last state in the country to form an official plan.

There are currently 220,000 Ohioans battling Alzheimer's disease and more than 600 thousand family and friends who are their caregivers according the Alzheimer's Association.

Vincent is hoping the initiative helps families like hers.

"If it’s going to help them, I’m all for it,” she said.