Missouri could have an Alzheimer’s support group in every county. The state House has passed a bipartisan plan that would require one in each Missouri county. The requirement was added to a bill that would create a 25-member statewide Alzheimer’s task force to assess the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease on Missourians. The panel would be charged with reviewing the existing services and resources available to such patients and their caregivers.
Representative Don Rone, R-Portageville, fought back tears while asking House members to endorse the provision.
“In my county, we don’t have a support group. And I’m sure that other rural counties do not have support groups,” Rone says. “I think it’s very important that not just the person that has Alzheimer’s, but the caretakers, have a place to go and know what’s going to happen.”
Bill sponsor, David Wood, R-Versailles, says fourteen members of his wife’s family have had Alzheimer’s and dementia over the last 25 years.
“To ask that every county just provide a support group, which can be as simple as having the community health center provide a space for these family members to share their experiences and have someone help them through this, is a very small ask,” says Wood.
Representative Barbara Washington, D-Kansas City, says she and family members take turns traveling back and forth to a small community in Saline County to care for a loved one with the disease.
Under Wood’s bill, the task force would be made up of state officials, representatives from the medical community, individuals with the disease and the caregiver, law enforcement, among others.
The measure, House Bill 1683, heads to the Senate.
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