The panel will assess: Services provided to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and dementia and their family members and caregivers; coordination and management of services; the transition of patients to and among care facilities; and will recommend legislative policy changes.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance existing programs and explore new opportunities to empower those with this terrible disease and the families caring for them," Caruso said.
Also represented on the new task force are legislators who are chairpersons or ranking members of committees related to aging and public health, a person with Alzheimer's disease, a caregiver family member, a physician who specializes in the treatment of elderly patients, care providers, and several state agency commissioners. The panel is to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by Jan. 1.
Estimated health care costs for Alzheimer's disease in the U. S. were as high as $215 billion in 2010, and they are expected to more than double in 30 years, researchers from the RAND Corp. reported in study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013. At least three-quarters of the costs cited by RAND are spent on long-term care for patients, both at home and in institutions.
Caruso was elected as judge of the Fairfield Probate Court in 1994. Since that time he has been a member of the Probate Assembly and served as its president-judge from 2010-12. He also represented Fairfield and Trumbull in the Connecticut House of Representatives for six years. A member of the Connecticut Bar Association, Caruso served on its executive committee for trusts and estates. He graduated from Vermont Law School, the University of Connecticut and Roger Ludlowe High School.
"A main obligation of the probate courts is to protect society's most vulnerable members. This includes the growing number of individuals with memory loss whose family needs legal authority to help manage their relative's care," said Probate Court Administrator Judge Paul J. Knierim. "Time and again, Judge Caruso has demonstrated compassion for these individuals and their families. I know he'll make an excellent contribution to the task force."