More screening and monitoring is needed to see that people with Alzheimer's are kept safe, but a $4.17 million cut in the proposed federal budget 27 percent of the roughly $15 million budget threatens to reduce staffing for Adult Protective Services. That's the state agency that supports community-based and in-home caregiving, said Ginny Helms, the state chapter's vice president of services and public policy.
The funds are used specifically for targeted case management, in which case workers assess abuse or exploitation of Alzheimer's sufferers or place them where they can receive care, Helms said.
"We've just got to do a better job of keeping them safe," said Helms, who wants the state to help cover the shortfall.
Augusta resident Bruce Flechter, who provided care for his father when his father developed Alzheimer's, said the disease touches the families of its sufferers as well, as some 70 percent of patients are cared for at home.
The $4 million cut could remove about 50 jobs at Adult Protective Services, he said.
The group lobbied the same day the Alzheimer's Association released a prediction that 120,000 Georgians 65 or older will have Alzheimer's by 2010, a 9 percent increase over 2000 figures.
The association also said nearly 350,000 caregivers logged 300 million hours of unpaid time caring for people with Alzheimer's and dementia.
Jake Armstrong can be reached at (404) 589-8424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.