Advocates push several bills for Alzheimer’s Day

LINCOLN, Nebraska (Nebraska) – The Nebraska chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association marks Wednesday as Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day.

On Wednesday afternoon, advocates from across the state lobbied senators in their district, and many are hit close to home with the disease.

Tami Robinson Soper has been caring for her Alzheimer’s mother for nearly 10 years.

“It was not something my family was familiar with,” Soper said.

Soper’s mother, Ada Robinson, worked as a teacher at the Lincoln Public Schools for almost 30 years. Robinson was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014 and Soper didn’t know where to start.

“It’s hard enough for a family member to go through this process and watch it get worse without putting in the effort just to get the resources needed to support it,” Soper said.

Soper today joined the Nebraska chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to advocate for three bills to help fill this gap.

LB 814 will create a dedicated position in the Department of Health and Human Services, LB57 will create a paid family and health insurance program to provide a wage replacement for eligible workers to care for themselves or family members, and LB345, which was introduced by State Senator Christy Armendariz is engaged in palliative care, which is similar to hospice but not end-of-life care.

“Patients with Alzheimer’s disease can live for a very long time,” said Armendaris. “But there are a lot of things that go into caring for Alzheimer’s patients. In this way, a palliative care specialist can help the whole family overcome all the obstacles they may face.”

Soper said these bills will benefit families across Nebraska, and by standing up for them, she can also honor her mother’s memory.

“Being an advocate and reaching out to other people living with Alzheimer’s and other family members who are trying to negotiate this is exactly what she would want,” Soper said.

Armendaris said her bill is out of committee but doesn’t know when it might be tabled.

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