By Ana Martinez–Ortiz
Gov. Tony Evers recently released his proposed budget. As the new governor, Evers’ budget included several proposals, which aim to change the lives of Wisconsin residents throughout the state.
Included in the budget, were several objectives directly aimed at people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers – both familial and professional.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control called Alzheimer’s disease a public health crisis. Currently, it is believed that 50,000 people living in Southeastern Wisconsin are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association has been advocating for more support for caregivers. With programs like Res Care, caregivers have an opportunity to take some time for themselves if only for a couple of hours. A majority of caregivers, who watch over their loved ones suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, are unpaid.
The association has also advocated for ways to keep individuals diagnosed with memory loss in their homes since it is where they feel more comfortable. In the past, experts through the dementia care specialist program determined if a patient could stay in their home as long as they were safe and cared for. If that is the case, caregiving becomes a full-time job, which is why the Alzheimer’s Association believes it is so important to support caregivers.
Michael Bruhn, the state public policy director for the Alzheimer’s Association, praised Evers’ budget, which proposed to expand the dementia care specialist program.
“[It] is a cost-effective way to assist individuals with Alzheimer’s to maintain the highest quality of life possible while remaining in their homes,” Bruhn said.
The budget also included funding for an “Academic Detailing,” a training program. The funding would allow for a pilot program with the end goal being to improve patient care. Additionally, five regional crisis stabilization facilities would be established.According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s press release, the facilities would specifically help individuals in a crisis. A crisis center would also lower the number of involuntary commitments.
Furthermore, the governor’s proposal would expand the definition of crisis to include “substance abuse and dementia, which would greatly reduce the number of individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia being taken to state run institutions.” Although the budget isn’t official yet, these proposals could mean big changes for individuals – both those living with the disease and those who care for them. The proposals could also bring changes for Wisconsinites in terms of what they pay when it comes to taxes.
If you or a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, please visit www.alz.org or call the Alzheimer’s Association’s helpline at 800-272- 3900.
This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Courier.