When my husband, John, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, our family was devastated. There was so much for us to learn. When it was time to look for help with his care, we wanted to know the staff was well-prepared to provide for his needs.

The most important factor in quality dementia care is the staff. When choosing a care community, I assumed that the staff was knowledgeable in all aspects of dementia care. Sadly, there were times when I observed that lack of training impacted my husband’s (or another resident’s) care. I was surprised to learn that Colorado does not require staff at nursing homes, assisted living residences or adult day centers to have a specific number of hours of training in dementia. While some facilities do make dementia training a priority, I believe all providers of these services should require it.

Please join me in thanking Senator Kolker, Senator Ginal and Representative Young for supporting the Alzheimer’s Association’s proposal to require a minimum of four hours of initial training and two hours of additional training every two years after that for direct care staff at every nursing home, assisted living and adult day centers across the state. I urge Speaker Garnett, Senators Smallwood, Fields and Buckner, and Representatives Lontine, Ortiz and Titone to also support this proposal. Without proper training, we cannot ensure appropriate care for the thousands of Coloradans living with Alzheimer’s in assisted living facilities.

Debra Wells