DENVER (CBS4) – Thousands of people in Colorado live with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. On Thursday, advocates of the disease will gather that the state capitol to shed more light on the debilitating disease.
The gathering is part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Day at the Capitol” event. Over 70 volunteers are expected to show up and talk with state leaders about how the state can better address and fight the disease.
The group will be talking about two pieces of legislation that could impact the thousands of people in Colorado who are suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Senate Bill 73 would require the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to create a statewide electronic system that would allow qualified individuals to upload their advance medical directives. Advocates say that way when a person loses their memory or ability to communicate, their medical treatment desires are on record and easily accessible.
“That would prevent people from getting medical care or treatments they don’t want,” explained Jim Herlihy with the Colorado chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
The second bill is House Bill 1045, which has to do with funding for the Public Guardianship Program. It provides a legal guardian for someone with Alzheimer’s who have no family or friends who can serve as a guardian.
Advocates say it is particularly important in the case that oftentimes at-risk adults are stranded for days at a hospital, because they have no guardian to sign their release forms.
“The Office of Public Guardianship has been established but it wasn’t funded,” Herlihy said. “So we’re looking for funding so that office can help speak for people who can’t speak for themselves.”
The events began on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.