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Working to Keep Alzheimer’s Care Secure and Accessible

KM President CEO

Karen E. Moriarty, President and CEO

Alzheimer’s is the fastest growing health threat in the U.S. today, and here in North Carolina, the surge in new cases is higher than the national average. The state is not only unprepared to deal with the rise in new Alzheimer’s cases, we still do not have a plan in place to care for those who are living with the disease today.

The reality is this: unless state lawmakers approve a new, permanent plan for Alzheimer’s care soon, some 4,000 vulnerable seniors will lose access to secure care in assisted living communities like Carillon.

Carillon is proud to stand as a founding member of the N.C. Alliance for Alzheimer’s Care; an advocacy group that is working to raise awareness of the need for a permanent funding solution on behalf of seniors who rely on Medicaid benefits to help pay for secure, residential Alzheimer’s care. The alliance officially launched its work at a press conference at Carillon Assisted Living of Knightdale on Feb. 18, but its members, including Carillon, have been hard at work on this issue for many months.

Simply put, changes in Medicaid eligibility and reimbursements threaten to undermine years of progress in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Gone are the days when a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s meant a long, drawn out stay in a nursing home. We cannot afford to go back to those days; seniors declined more rapidly, and families lost precious time with their loved one.

Today, new therapies and a more progressive approach has resulted in care communities like Carillon’s The Garden Place, where residents are not only safe and secure, but stimulated and supported to help them preserve life skills and cognitive function. Such high-quality Alzheimer’s care is no longer the exclusive right of a privileged few, thanks to the option of state assistance through Medicaid.

But we appear to be headed backwards, to the days when a nursing home was the only option for seniors with Alzheimer’s whose assets were depleted. We must not, and we cannot, allow that to happen. The Alzheimer’s problem is not going away, and certainly not anytime soon. Short-sighted budget fixes will only short-change seniors and families in the long run.

The alliance will keep working, and keep pushing, for a long-term funding solution that allows seniors to receive care in secure Alzheimer’s communities like The Garden Place. And for our part, Carillon is going to fight as hard as we can for the families that call Carillon home today, and for those who may come home to Carillon in the future.