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SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Mary Edly-Allen’s measure requiring training related to Alzheimer’s and dementia for publically appointed guardians passed the Senate on Wednesday, taking an essential step toward ensuring guardians have the necessary tools to provide compassionate care.

“The emotional toll of Alzheimer’s and dementia cannot be overstated as these diseases not only rob individuals of their memories and cognitive function, but also take away their independence,” said Edly-Allen (D-Libertyville). “This legislation puts in place a basic requirement for publically appointed guardians so they know the best methods of care for those diagnosed with these terrible diseases.”

Senate Bill 216 would require public guardians to undergo at least one hour of training on how to recognize, care for and interact with patients who have Alzheimer’s or dementia. The training must be completed within six months of the guardian’s appointment and renewed annually.

"We're thrilled by the overwhelming bipartisan Senate support for providing guardians with a basic level of dementia training.  This training will better equip guardians to protect and serve vulnerable individuals living with Alzheimer's," said Jennifer Belkov, Vice President for Public Policy at the Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter.  "Special thanks to Senator Edly-Allen for her leadership in the Senate, and we look forward to advancing the bill through the House and getting it signed into law."

Currently, Illinois has no basic requirement for training related to Alzheimer’s and dementia for medical personnel, community care staff or direct-care workers. Training publically appointed guardians on how to recognize behaviors and respond with empathy and appropriate interventions can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“We are seeing an increase in the amount of Illinois residents living with diagnosed Alzheimer’s, which further highlights the need for laying this groundwork,” said Edly-Allen. “Equipping caregivers with the knowledge they need will promote a safe and supportive environment for those receiving care.”

Senate Bill 216 moves to the House for further consideration.