Wisconsin lawmakers introduce bills highlighting dementia care

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Wisconsin lawmakers are putting a spotlight on a disease that impacts millions. Several proposals targeting Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia are currently circulating in Wisconsin legislature.

Sponsors say its a step in the right direction. "There was the speaker's task force last session on Alzheimer's and Dementia and from that task force, we came up with a series of initiatives and areas where we can really help families," said State Rep. Patrick Snyder.

Lawmakers plan to help dementia patients and their families by introducing a series of bills. One would create a $1,000 tax credit for families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or Dementia.
Another would provide $500,000 in grants to community programs across the state to raise awareness for Alzheimer's and Dementia resources. And a third would form a council to study ways to improve care.

"We hope that the bills will be heard in the senate and assembly very soon and then as soon as they move forward, optimistically we can get them to the Governor's desk and start helping families in the near future," said Justin Phillips,
Chief of Staff for Republican Rep. Ken Skowronski of Assembly District 82.

The bill is being pushed forward by four republican assembly members who say there is bipartisan support. Members of the Democratic party respond."There's one that has a larger amount of 500,000 attached to it but with the new budget we'll be about a billion dollars in the rear at the end of the budget cycle so I'm not that that one might pass," said Rep. Debra Kolste of Assembly District 44.

Memory care experts say the disease needs to be highlighted because the amount of people diagnosed is growing. It is estimated that over the next 10 years, more than 100,000 people will have this disease process in Wisconsin alone.

"I've been told that it would basically fill up all of Lambeau Field as well as Miller Park so if you can imagine that every single seat in both of those stadiums would have someone diagnosed with dementia, you can begin to see how it affects every single community in our state," said Paula Gibson, Azura Memory Care Regional Director of Communications.

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