A Way Forward: Including LGBTQ People In Alzheimer’s Care

Alzheimer’s Disease is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the Montana.

That’s why, on June 20, Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced the launch of the first-ever Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias State Workplan. The Montana Chapter of the Alzheimer Association’s Executive Director, Lynn Mullowney, as well as several elders, workgroup members, and volunteers joined Governor Bullock for the occasion.

Lynn explains that there are approximately 19,000 Montanans living with Alzheimers, and in the next decade that number is expected to rise to 27,000.  

Governor Bullock’s announcement marks a first for Montana and elevates the work that has gone into this project over the last two years—including countless hours spent exploring the depth of the issue, cross-state travel, and numerous critical meetings to finalize a framework that would address the growing epidemic of Alzheimer’s Disease in Montana.

This year, the Alzheimer’s Association is specifically prioritizing LGBTQ people living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Related Dementias. It is but one critical step in addressing the challenges and barriers that LGBTQ adults face when being cared for in a medical facility.

Since 2015, I have served on a workgroup—aiming to provide an LGBTQ perspective on the workplan and help ensure the plan is inclusive and values the dignity and respect of LGBTQ individuals.

Working alongside the passionate, determined, and caring individuals that have driven this project forward, I am struck by the ways in which Montana is addressing this very important health concern in our state while thoughtfully taking into consideration both the patients and caregivers who are LGBTQ.

The workplan now offers potential solutions to the multifaceted issues and barriers that LGBTQ people living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Related Dementias face, along with specific suggestions of how to make these recommendations a reality. The solutions range from inclusive intake forms to formal recommendations of staff training to ensure cultural competence and inclusivity.

I am deeply honored to have been invited to be a part of these discussions, and to have had the opportunity to provide recommendations on behalf of LGBTQ adults living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Related Dementias.

There is more work ahead to implement our workplan effectively, and this is a necessary and pivotal step forward in addressing the issues affecting so many Montanans.

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias State Workplan.

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