Alzheimer’s panel gathering input on plan

One in three U.S. seniors dies with it.

It is the sixth leading cause of death amongst all Americans.

Estimates project that more than five million people live with it every day.

There is no known cure.

It’s Alzheimer’s Disease and awareness of the condition has grown steadily.

In Pennsylvania, the fourth oldest state in the nation, the prevalence of a disease that affects mostly those age 65 and older has reached near-crisis levels.

This year, Pennsylvania is working to address the issue, but the state is asking for public input on a plan.

In Feb., Gov. Tom Corbett issued an executive order to form the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee, tasking it with developing a comprehensive statewide plan to address the disease in Pennsylvania.

The committee held its first work meeting in June and now has a preliminary plan to present to the public.

“Local agencies have had involvement in the process,” Farley Wright, Executive Director for Experience Inc. which serves as the Warren County Area Agency on Aging, said. “I am glad to see the state taking a leadership role. Hopefully the leadership will include developing resources and facilitating the implementation of the plan that is developed.”

The committee held the first of six public comment meetings to solicit feedback on July 15 in Harrisburg.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for the people of Pennsylvania to help influence how we address Alzheimer’s disease and other related disorders, which currently affect 400,000 Pennsylvanians,” said state Secretary of Aging Brian Duke, who chairs the committee, in a July 12 press release. “We welcome and look forward to the public’s input.”

For Warren County residents, the nearest public meeting will be held on Sept. 15 in Clarion.

“We will be represented at the Clarion hearing,” Wright noted referring to his organization.

Remaining meeting dates and locations include;

Aug. 8, State College – Center for Healthy Aging, 4th Floor, Biobehavioral Health Building, University Park, PA 16802,

Aug. 13, Scranton – Penn State Worthington Gallagher Conference Center, 120 Ridge View Drive, Dunmore, PA 18512,

Aug. 15, Philadelphia – University of Pennsylvania, Biomedical Research Building, 421 Curie Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104,

Sept. 16, Clarion – Clarion Hospital, One Hospital Drive, Clarion, PA 16214,

Sept. 17, Pittsburgh – University of Pittsburgh, William Pitt Union Building, 3959 5th Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15260.

Meetings are scheduled to run from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Comments can also be submitted by email at alzstateplan@pa.gov or by mail at PA Alzheimer’s State Plan, 555 Walnut St., 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101.