Four new laws in Illinois aim to help seniors

Four new laws in Illinois aim to help seniors

ILLINOIS (IRN) — Illinois is now the first state to require regular Alzheimer’s Disease training for all licensed health care professionals.

The legislation was one of four bills that address older Illinoisans.

Senate Bill 677 directs health care workers who deal with adults 26 and older to complete at least a one hour course in diagnosis, treatment and care of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The measure includes content on how to identify and diagnose Alzheimer’s, and management and care planning.

“230,000 Illinois residents are living with Alzheimer’s disease,” said the bill’s cosponsor Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Northlake. “Early detection is key to treatment.”

Between the 2000 and 2018, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 146%. As the U.S. population ages, Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some families went months without being able to communicate with their loved ones in long-term care facilities. One law, House Bill 3147, requires long-term care facilities in the state to provide virtual communication for residents and families during a public health emergency. The law goes into effect immediately.

Another law that is now on the books deals with driving. Senate Bill 2570 ensures that drivers 55 and older who complete an online defensive driving course, rather than in-person, may still be eligible for an auto insurance discount.

“The new law opens up access to driver training to more mature drivers in Illinois,” said Deputy Republican Leader Dan Brady, R-Bloomington. “Through eLearning, Illinoisans 55 and older can easily access to the instruction they need to not only stay safe on the roadways but also reduce their vehicle insurance premiums.”

Another law extends the Alzheimer’s scratch-off lottery ticket until Jan. 1, 2025 with 100% of the proceeds going toward Alzheimer’s care support, education and awareness.

“To ensure that no one is left without the medical care they need, it is important that we are providing ample resources to organizations that help those with Alzheimer’s,” said Assistant Majority Natalie Manley, D-Romeoville.

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