For Immediate Release - September 13, 2013

Massachusetts First State to Register with Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance to Make Resources Available to All Employees

Patrick Administration to provide information and resources to state employees on coping with Alzheimer’s

BOSTON — Today, the Patrick Administration announced Massachusetts as the first state in the nation to register with the Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance (AEDA), to help provide all state employees with information about early warning signs of Alzheimer's and resources to support those affected and their families.

“Governor Patrick’s leadership in convening the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders State Plan Task Force has led to the development of strategies to help Massachusetts improve the quality of life for the thousands of families affected by Alzheimer’s,” said Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz. “Today we are not only executing on those recommendations, but setting an example for all employers in registering for AEDA resources that will expand awareness of the disease and help people meet its challenges.”

Massachusetts is the first state to register, joining 100 businesses who have signed on to the AEDA on behalf of employees. Through this partnership, Massachusetts will now be able to provide Commonwealth employees with easy access to educational information on early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and to help them access resources available for caregivers through the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Alzheimer’s Association chapter.

“By partnering with the Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance, the Commonwealth will have the resources to better inform its employees about early detection of Alzheimer’s and ways to cope with this devastating illness,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein. “We join other Massachusetts businesses and organizations in leading by example and raising awareness to support peers and co-workers affected by Alzheimer’s.”

In response to the increasing number of people with Alzheimer’s disease in Massachusetts, in 2010, Governor Patrick convened the Alzheimer’s disease and Related Disorders (ADRD) State Plan Task Force, headed by Ann L. Hartstein, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, and James Wessler, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter. Partnering with the Alzheimer's Association is a result of efforts by the Administration to implement recommendations to increase awareness within the ADRD State Plan.

“There are currently more than 120,000 people in Massachusetts with the disease, with an additional 320,000 residents who act as their caregivers,” said Secretary Hartstein. "Too often, we wait until crisis occurs before seeking information or help, which results in unnecessary and expensive hospitalizations, emergency room visits and premature nursing facility placement. In registering with the Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance, Massachusetts is once again leading the way in providing critical resources to ensure that our residents maintain healthy, quality lives.”

Today, on behalf of the Commonwealth, the Department of Human Resources registered as a member of the Alliance. A ceremony in the State House celebrated the event.

"We are so pleased and proud that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is joining the Alzheimer's Early Detection Alliance; a step that will bring direct assistance to thousands of state employees and a step which we hope will encourage employers across the Commonwealth to make a similar decision, said Jim Wessler, president & CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter.

“The Patrick Administration is committed to providing the support and information state employees need to help them and their families maintain healthy lives,” said Massachusetts Chief Human Resources Officer Paul Dietl. “This alliance allows us to deliver on that promise by increasing awareness about early warning signs of Alzheimer's to help employees and their families support loved ones who might be affected.”

“This is a proud day for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which has joined the movement to provide employees vital information and resources about Alzheimer’s disease,” said Senator Patricia Jehlen. “Early access to such important information can make a huge difference in how prepared a person feels if they, or a loved one, becomes personally affected by the disease.”

“Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease is crucial to ensuring that people impacted by the disease get the best help possible,” said Representative James O'Day. “I applaud Governor Patrick’s work in putting together the Alzheimer’s State Plan Task force and enrolling the Commonwealth in the Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance. I’m proud that as a state government we will be providing our employees with important information about early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and the resources to connect our employees with the best assistance and support available for the disease.”

Links to the information will be on the Commonwealth’s Human Resources website as well as on the homepage of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs. For more information, visit: www.mass.gov/hrd.

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