May 24, 2024 1:10 am
Establishing a dementia registry could improve allocation of brain health resources in Virginia

A Virginia dementia registry project is on the brink of becoming state law to prioritize brain health and ensure equitable allocation of resources. HB 1455 is currently awaiting the signature of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) and will officially establish the Virginia Memory Project in state law. This collaboration between Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Department of Health aims to catalog dementia cases and other neurodegenerative diseases in the state, informing public policy development.

The Virginia Memory Project is one of four statewide dementia registries in the country supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the CDC’s Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. Recent bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to reauthorize the original 2018 act. The registry collects data on disease cases, caregivers, and their number, providing policymakers and public health leaders with information about dementia prevalence, resource allocation, and policy solutions for individuals living with cognitive impairments and their caregivers.

LeadingAge Virginia has expressed support for legislation, emphasizing the importance of collecting data related to brain health, memory, and caregiving for all adult Virginians. Melissa Andrews, President and CEO of LeadingAge Virginia stated that this information will help prioritize resources for individuals with memory loss and caregivers throughout the state, including those in various care settings beyond just assisted living facilities.

Currently, over 700,000 cases of dementia have been identified through this project across Virginia. Individuals aged 18 or older can participate by completing a confidential online survey. This initiative aims to provide valuable data supporting well-being among individuals with cognitive impairments and their caregivers in Virginia.

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