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Call to Action

Support Interim Legislative Committee Bills to Help People with Dementia

A group of  8 Montana legislators on the Children and Families Interim Committee took on the enormous challenge to improve the lives of those people with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their family caregivers.  These legislators wrapped up work on a bold package of legislation that will go before the next legislature — hopefully for approval.
Nearly one in three seniors who die this year has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.  In our rapidly graying state, 48,000 family members are caring for 19,000 people with these diseases.  Help us encourage other legislators and the candidates for governor to support bills from the important work of this interim committee:
  • LC 280 Services to help people stay at home or in assisted living – People can live for years in decline from dementias requiring extensive care, spending down assets, until many of them qualify for Medicaid.  The goal is to keep these patients at home or in assisted living for as long as possible.  Currently over 500 people who are entitled to care in a nursing home, are on a waiting list to receive care at home or in a nearby assisted living facility.  This bill significantly expands the Medicaid community services so patients with dementias can delay going to a nursing home, a more costly option for the taxpayer.
  • LC 172 Relief for Family Caregivers – This bill will provide grants to local groups to coordinate volunteer corps of respite caregivers.  Volunteers trained to care for patients with dementias will give family members a needed break to use the time however they wish.
  • LC 279 Family Caregiver Supports through local Aging Services – This bill provides funding for local Aging Services to reach out to family caregivers of dementia people providing more information and assistance, public awareness of early detection, and direct in-home care services.
  • LC281 Supporting Court Appointed Guardians of Incapacitated Adults – If someone has not designated a “power of attorney” and becomes incapacitated (due to dementia or other conditions), a court appoints a legal guardian.  This bill creates a permanent oversite committee to work on training, standards and accountability for our guardianship system which is long overdue.  In addition, it funds local guardianship programs for indigent individuals.
Please thank the following  legislators:   Rep. Ron Ehli (Hamilton), Chairman Sen. Mary Caferro (Helena) Vice-Chair; Rep. Al Olszewski (Kalispell); Sen. Roger Webb (Billings); Rep. Gordon Pierson (Deer Lodge); Sen. Diane Sands (Missoula); Rep. Jessica Karjala (Billings); and Senator Eric Moore (Miles City).
More about this committee’s work can be found at:
http://leg.mt.gov/css/Committees/interim/2015-2016/Children-Family/default.asp.
To follow the progress of this legislation using their LC numbers, go to:
http://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/law0203w$.startup?P_SESS=20171

Contact Claudia Clifford, Advocacy Director, AARP Montana, cclifford@aarp.org   406-439-8046

This legislation is supported by the Montana Alzheimer’s/Dementia Work Group.

 

Go to http://www.mtalzplan.com