According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s disease is a public health crisis devastating Wisconsin” and one that we see firsthand at Azura Memory Care, which is why we send a group of advocates to Madison each year to participate in the #WIRallyforAlz.
This year our contingent was able to represent the over 115,000 Wisconsinites who are living with Alzheimer’s in our state with special focus on those for whom we care at Azura and you!
Joined by over 130 others, your Azura Advocates ventured to Madison to speak to local legislators on the following bills:
- Silver Alert Referral (AB628/SB517) – This modification to the Silver Alert program, which Azura helped advocate for 4 years ago, ensures that if a credible Silver Alert has been issued, the law enforcement agency that has issued the
“alert” is able to refer that person and/or their guardian to the local Aging and Disability Resource Center. In addition, if the subject the alert was issued for was driving this bill requires that the law enforcement agency notifies the Department of Transportation so that they may review the person’s license to determine safety of self and the general public when driving. It’s important to note that on average it takes 6 hours to find someone using the Silver Alert program and on average they are found at least 60 miles away from their home, so many Alerts are issued for those driving with no way for the police to currently assist them or their families to get additional help.
- Uniform Adult Guardianship (AB629/SB518) – Currently Wisconsin is 1 of 5 states that does not use Uniform Guardianship, which means that those who live in Wisconsin and travel outside of the State or vice versa may not have their guardianship status recognized. This bill would simplify the process for resolving a jurisdictional adult guardianship issue, thus allowing cases to be settled more quickly, and provide more predictable outcomes.
- Caregiver Tax Credit (AB631/SB528) – In 2016 family caregivers provided 219 million hours of unpaid care valued at $2.7 billion! In addition, these same caregivers often have to leave the workforce or pay out of pocket for items like incontinence products or medications. In an effort to help alleviate these costs this bill offers at $1,000 tax credit to qualifying families for expenses related to caregiving.
- Statewide Alzheimer’s Awareness Campaign (AB632/SB527) – Even though every 66 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, many people remain unaware that forgetting is not part of normal aging or they do not know the resources available to help them in their community. This bill addresses this problem by allowing the Department of Health Services to distribute up to $500,000 in grants to community programs in an effort to raise awareness and increase utilization of such services and support programs.
- Supported Decision Making (AB655/SB522) – Early-onset dementia affects those younger than age 65 and often a person can begin to show signs of the disease process in their 40’s and 50’s. This bill allows them and other adults with functional impairments to create an agreement allowing another person or “supporter,” to assist with decision-making. The supporter would then be allowed to access medical, financial, psychological, educational and treatment records and express life decisions to the appropriate people. The supporter would not be allowed to legally sign documents or binding agreements for the adult, but rather has only the authority granted by the adult under the terms of the supported decision making agreement.
We applaud the numerous legislators that have proposed and backed these bills, but as our adventure in Madison showed much more needs to be done. Please consider contacting your legislator and lending your voice to the #WIRallyforAlz today!
Here is a link to the Wisconsin State Legislative Districts map, which you can click to easily find your Representative or Senator or simply type your address in the box in the upper right corner for this same information. Call or email them today!