Gov. Kelly names members to state Alzheimer’s task force

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly named 13 people to the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force on Friday.

The group is tasked with developing a strategy for the state to respond to the public health concern by 2020.

New task force member Carol Jolly is a social worker in Topeka.

Over the years, she has met with people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, as well as caretakers for patients. Jolly said she has noticed as people age, the disease is always in the back of their mind.

“Anyone over the age of 50 who can’t find their car keys or forgets somebody’s name is beginning to think about whether or not they are going to ultimately end up with some form of dementia,” said Jolly.

The Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging helps get services to older adults in the Topeka area. Executive director Susan Harris said the disease is brought up often.

“We get numerous phone calls a day from folks in the community that have recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” said Harris.

“Just wanting answers to questions about what can I expect, what might happen, what services are potentially out there for down the road,” she said.

Harris said she is pleased that the state, and in particular the governor, is focusing on the disease.

“It shows that she understands that there is that need statewide, nationwide even, but to have a statewide task force to really delve into what can Kansas do to help Kansans with these issues is very important and it needs to be a statewide effort,” said Harris.

As for Jolly, she knows there’s a lot that needs to be addressed.

“Part of it is going to be about funding, part of it is going to be about increased education, part of it is going to be about perhaps more vigorous development of community resources to help sustain a person, keeping them out of a nursing home,” she said.

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