TOPEKA — The Kansas House Committee on Taxation recently amended House Bill 2404, which establishes a senior services task force for the state of Kansas. The task force is a temporary committee created to study a wide variety of issues relating to senior citizens residing in the state including Alzheimer’s and memory care and the abuse or neglect of residents in senior care facilities.

The task force will consist of a chairperson, vice-chairperson and numerous members of both the Kansas House and Senate as well as representatives from the Kansas Adult Care Executives and the Kansas Health Care Association, both based in Topeka, and the American Association of Retired Persons.

The task force was introduced to the House on March 20 by Rep. Susan Concannon (R-Barnard) and will begin proceedings “on or before” Aug. 1.

As Baby Boomers continue to age, more and more states across the country are coming across aging-related issues in unprecedented numbers. Nearly 15% of the population of Kansas is aged 65 and above, and with those numbers set to increase, so will cases of some of the more undesirable traits of old age, such as Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly six million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, a 145% increase since 2000. Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, claiming one in three seniors’ lives — more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Over 16 million Americans provide care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s, but this can often be an extremely taxing job, both mentally and physically. This is why state governments like Kansas’ are seeking to create task forces that will help with education and resources for those caring for an individual with an age-related disease.

With the help of the senior task force, researchers and professionals will be able to discuss different treatment methods, present findings and work toward improving the overall care and comfort of Americans as they enter their later years.

Marissa Ventrelli is a University of Kansas junior from Chicago majoring in journalism.    

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