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Legislation would require training for loved ones seeking legal guardianship of people living with dementia

Mature Asian woman spending quality time with her depressed elderly mother at home.
Mature Asian woman spending quality time with her depressed elderly mother at home.
(Credit: goc / Getty Images)

Preparing family caregivers to step into the role of guardian for a loved one living with dementia is the goal of a proposed bill before the Oklahoma Legislature.

SB 1751 would require anyone seeking legal guardianship of loved ones living with dementia to undergo training.

The free, one-hour, online training course would include the topics of understanding the disease, communication techniques and resources available to caregivers. The goal of the bill is to better prepare family members and friends who assume court-appointed responsibilities for people with dementia.

“I think this is something that, increasingly, all of us can identify with,” bill sponsor Sen. Jo Anna Dossett (D-Tulsa) said. “I think that’s going to be a benefit not only to the person who’s being cared for but also for the guardian or caregiver.”

The effort originally was sought by the Oklahoma chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“At the Alzheimer’s Association, we want to ensure those living with the disease and their caregivers are supported as much as possible as they navigate a disease that is currently without a cure,” Alzhiemer’s Association Oklahoma chapter Director of Public Policy Maggie Shaffer said in a statement. “Providing those taking on the monumental role of guardianship with a better understanding of the disease and available resources in a convenient, online format is one thing we can do to help them while they are on that journey.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 70,000 Oklahomans are living with Alzheimer’s, and 135,000 Oklahomans are caring for a loved one with the disease. According to the National Center for Assisted Living, 37% of Oklahoma residents living in assisted living communities have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. 

Source: McKnights Seniorliving

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