The Alzheimer’s Association, along with our partners from the University of Washington’s Memory and Brain Wellness Center, hosted a community forum this past Thursday, November 3. The meeting was in person and virtual and included constituents impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias and those who work in a profession that supports those on their journey with the disease.
Topics discussed ranged from obtaining a diagnosis to risk factors to overcoming stigma. Here are four key takeaways from the King County Community Forum:
Many people voiced that initial diagnosis came through their primary care physician. Some shared that it was difficult to get their loved ones to share their memory concerns with their physician. Others expressed frustration in being able to schedule an appointment with a neurologist in King County, citing long wait times for an appointment due to a lack of access to neurologists in the county. This is especially a concern in south King County.
The Toll on At-Home Caregivers
The community at large does not understand how difficult it is to be an at-home caregiver. Having an in-person or virtual support group to share resources was extremely helpful for at-home caregivers.
Lack of Awareness and Stigma
There is a lack of awareness of how Alzheimer’s and other dementias develop and progress which causes fear, misconceptions and stigma. People need to talk more about the disease, both personally and professionally, according to the group. A few people discussed the need for those in healthcare, first responder, social service and senior services roles to receive education about how to communicate with people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
People from BIPOC communities face multiple barriers when accessing care and services for a number of reasons. The cost of healthcare and healthcare insurance was mentioned by many. Medicare does not cover all costs associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. As for Medicaid, a person may not be at a poverty level to qualify for Medicaid but still not have enough resources to pay for things like in-home care or a memory care facility.
The Association is grateful to those who participated. If you have feedback/suggestions regarding services in King County, please share your feedback with our King County Community Outreach Manager, Kimber Behrends, at email@example.com. We will host other community forums in other areas of Washington during 2023. Subscribe to our e-newsletter to make sure you receive a notification when we host an event in your community.