A new three-year pilot program that would provide a short break for Alzheimer’s caregivers has been signed into law by Governor Bill Lee.
State Representative Ryan Williams said the bill would provide four hours of respite care for family members caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.
“The reason why we think it is worth using state resources to do this is once someone with Alzheimer’s goes into full time care in a care facility, the cost for the state is astronomical,” Williams said.
Williams said caring for Alzheimer’s patient is a demanding task and often leaves families without the time to complete simple errands. Williams said this would give families the time to do things such as pay bills or grocery shop.
“The longer that we can afford the ability for these family members to stay where they are going to do better in their personal residences or in their family’s home, they are going to be able to rebound quicker and respond to the care much better in a full time care facility with the cost being minimal,” Williams said.
Williams was a co-sponsor of the bill. Williams said he has worked on the bill for the past three years. Williams said the act was named after Col. Thomas G. Bowden who was a Tennessee soldier that passed away from the disease.
“This is a bill that is pretty personal to me,” Williams said. “My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 13 years ago. She passed away after 11 years of struggling with this horrendous disease. For the last three years, I have worked with Miss Bowden who’s husband the bill was named after. Her family found that when their loved one is struggling with Alzheimer’s that is it s a 24 hours a day job.”
Williams said the program is active now and is administered though UCHRA. Other states such as Florida have successfully implemented the program