In Honolulu, legislators are readying for the 2016 legislative session. So are the advocates who are trying to help Hawaii's growing number of people living with dementia. In 2014, roughly 25,000 Hawaiians over age 65 were diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Now a dementia task force will devote its efforts to this cause via the Hawaii Executive Office on Aging in partnership with the Alzheimer's Association Aloha Chapter.
A recent article in KHON, titled "Task force aims to help seniors living with dementia" recently reported on this. James Pietsch, the director of the University of Hawaii Elder Law Program, told KHON that there are multiple tasks under this task force, one of which is supportive research to determine whether professionals are qualified or capable of handling these type of cases. Professionals like doctors, social workers, nurses, and lawyers need to be better prepared to handle issues involving dementia.
Pietsch explained that the group is trying to develop a core of individuals—attorneys who are dementia capable—a term being used to describe an attorney who would be comfortable handling issues relating to dementia. The dementia task force is trying to make life easier on dementia patients and their caregivers. They want to educate them on complicated issues like Medicare, Medicaid, advanced directives, and power of attorney laws. They also want to educate these individuals who can help change those laws to reflect a growing need to make it easier for families who are navigating this very complex area. Dementia cases are going to increase as more baby boomers reach retirement age. Now is the time to prepare, before you have a greater need.
Reference: KHON (November 26, 2015) "Task force aims to help seniors living with dementia"