Senator Kane Supports Re-opening Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program

March 31, 2010

Senator Rob Kane (R-32) today joined representatives of The Alzheimer’s Association – Connecticut Chapter, AARP, the Connecticut Association of Areas on Aging, legislators and family caregivers at a press conference called to highlight the need to re-open the state’s Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program.

“Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer from this horrible disease knows the toll it takes, not just on the victims, but on the people who love them. Making it more feasible for those with Alzheimer’s to stay home for as long as possible is a blessing for many families,” said Senator Kane.

The state’s Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program has been closed to new intakes since May 2009. Proposed legislation, House Bill 5111, is intended to result in the program being reopened. Approximately 400 caregivers are on a waiting list for respite services.

“Connecticut’s fiscal situation is dire and we can all agree that we have to save money where we can. But the bottom line is that we should be willing to make the investment to provide Alzheimer’s respite services for families caring for their loved ones. The alternative is to leave caregivers with no choice but to make the heartbreaking – and expensive – decision to place their relatives in nursing homes. Providing respite services saves money by delaying, perhaps preventing, the need for nursing home care,” said Senator Kane.

There are more than 70,000 individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s, or a related dementia, and 125,758 caregivers in Connecticut. Approximately 70 percent of those with Alzheimer’s are cared for at home by their families and friends.

According to information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association, the respite care program employs companions, home aides, adult day care centers, personal care assistants and case managers to provide services. Before the program was closed to new recipients last May, it served more than 900 families, reflecting a 24 percent increase over the previous year.