The Alzheimer’s association wants respite care for patients

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – To benefit caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease in Tennessee, a bill is expected to be introduced in 2022 to provide respite care for patients.

The Tennessee Alzheimer’s Association is behind the bill. They said it would benefit people who spend much of their time caring for the 120,000 people in the condition with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

Respite care is when a trained professional takes care of a patient so that a primary caregiver, usually a family member, can have time for themselves.

John Tometich, husband of Mary Tometich, said he would benefit from such a program.

Mary is 62 years old but has been battling Alzheimer’s disease for eight years.

“There is a lot of variation from day to day,” Tometich said. “Sometimes even figuring out what a glass of water is and what it’s for and how to approach it is beyond the scope.”

John spends most of his day looking after his wife. He was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

“It has only been a very gradual journey in that direction. She has a very loving spirit, a beautiful smile and brings joy to everyone she interacts with,” he said.

Although he loves his wife, he said that a break for himself would help him take care of her.

“You have unpaid caregivers, and you have to think that most caregivers are not in a situation like we are. They are older. So, they are not in the situation of having to earn an income while facing all of that on top of that. Even those, in this situation, a lot of them are not paid, ”he said.

The program would provide respite care to patients through the Nine Area Agency on Aging.

The plan is designed as a three-year pilot program, starting in 2023.

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