Lawmakers emphasize need for respite care for Alzheimer's patients

Alzheimers Association
Posted at 7:51 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 09:42:28-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Lawmakers have filed a bill to provide respite care for people with Alzheimer's or dementia in Tennessee.

The bill is a pilot program that will last three years. It will serve 150 families to start. It will provide 12 hours of respite care per month to participants.

Respite care is professional care of a patient so a caregiver can go take care of their own needs.

"For me, it's very personal as my grandmother on my mom's side struggled with Alzheimer's for more than 10 years," said sponsor Rep. Ryan Williams of Cookeville. "[She] passed away 16 months ago. The family is the one that bears the brunt of the care."

The bill is called the Colonel Thomas G. Bowden Memorial Act. Named after Barbara Bowden's late husband. She attended a press conference for the bill Wednesday.

"When you receive a diagnosis, it's emotional, it's physical and it's financial," Bowden said. "I can't stress the importance and how the financial part affected us and how the physical part affected us."

She said everyday tasks became a challenge for her and her husband. A break with respite care would've been life-changing.

"Just three hours a week, I can maybe exercise. I can go for a walk. I can go in my room and stare out the window if I want to. I can do whatever I want," Bowden said.

Legislators will study how the pilot performs to see if they will expand it in the state.