Wisconsin: Dementia bills pass committees

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Wisconsin lawmakers are considering 10 bills designed to aid those with dementia, although senior living groups oppose one of the measures.

The legislature's Joint Finance Committee has approved five Alzheimer's-related bills, according to an article on postcrescent.com.

The bills would:

  • Provide funding for $50,000 worth of virtual dementia tours;
  • Fund $50,000 in Alzheimer's research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison;
  • Give $1 million to the state's Alzheimer's family and caregiver support program;
  • Set aside $1.37 million to hire dementia care specialists for rural counties and;
  • Increase grants for training members of local dementia crisis teams.

Five other bills approved by the legislature's mental health committee, according to the media outlet, would:

  • Create a state dementia specialist certification program;
  • Request that the state Supreme Court require education for attorneys to help them identify adults vulnerable to financial exploitation;
  • Require the state to restrict driving privileges for older adults if the public's safety is at risk;
  • Instruct the state to compile a report on where those with dementia are placed in crises, and help counties create dementia crisis units.
  • Mandate that community-based residential facilities to obtain permission from residents with degenerative brain disorders, or their legal representatives, before giving them psychotropic drugs.

Leading Age Wisconsin, the Residential Services Association of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Assisted Living Association and the Wisconsin Health Care Association oppose the medication provision, according to the website article. The groups maintain that medical care at residential facilities is limited and, therefore, residents should discuss their medications with their physicians.

The legislature is expected to vote on all of the bills by the end of the month.

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