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Capitol Correspondence - 09.22.20

Big Picture: Dementia Death Toll Accelerates During Pandemic

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This reporting by Politico Pulse on increased dementia deaths could be informative to our members who support individuals with multiple diagnoses or those that deliver services across disability and aging sectors.

WAVE OF DEMENTIA DEATHS ADDS THOUSANDS TO PANDEMIC TOLL — Deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia rose more than 20 percent above normal over the summer, POLITICO’s Tucker Doherty reports, adding to the devastation faced by U.S. nursing homes.

— The CDC attributes more than 61,000 deaths to dementia since June — or 11,000 more than occurred on average over the same period in previous years.

While some of those deaths could be undiagnosed Covid-19 cases, experts theorize that’s less likely in recent months because testing is more widespread. And frontline workers say staffing shortages and the virus’ spread disrupted daily routines that kept residents dressed, fed, socially engaged and out of harm’s way.

— Alzheimer’s Association calls for mandatory daily testing. The organization wants nursing home staff tested every day, given the risks associated with providing hands-on care. Industry advocates also want testing supplies for visiting family members to help reduce the extreme social isolation some residents have faced in lockdown.”

Longer read: The Washington Post also covered this issue in greater depth.