Have you had the conversation with your loved ones yet? It’s the conversation that often happens too late, or not at all. The conversation for which it’s never the right time. The one that seems too difficult, or too painful, or too awkward.
It’s the conversation about how you want to live and how you want to die. Have you had and documented the conversation about your wishes for care and treatment when you are nearing the end of your life or when you can no longer communicate them yourself?
Healthcare providers that start the conversation with their patients will tell you that far from being too difficult, it’s often a relief for both their patients and families. The patient is relieved that they can have a serious and frank discussion about their wishes. Caregivers may be relieved that a third party is facilitating what can be an emotional conversation.
How would you prepare for the future of your child if they had a disability? That’s what mother of two and disabilities advocate Erika Steuterman talked about to an Indiana House Committee this past February. Ms. Steuterman was testifying in favor of SEA 11, the Indiana ABLE Act, which authorizes Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell to develop a 529-type savings account program for Hoosiers with physical and intellectual disabilities. “I prepare for my college-bound daughter’s future by making contributions to her 529 college savings account,” said Ms. Steuterman. “The Indiana ABLE Act will allow me to prepare for the future of my child with disabilities in the same way.”
Surrounded by disabilities advocates and legislative sponsors Sen. Luke Kenley and Rep. Ed Clere, Gov. Mike Pence signs the Indiana ABLE Act. Indiana joins nearly 40 other states that have enacted similar legislation.
The Indiana General Assembly concluded its 2016 legislative session on March 10, 2016, after a very fast-paced 10 weeks of activity. A little over 200 bills were passed, and several will benefit older adults and persons with disabilities. Below are highlights of legislation of interest to the Area Agencies on Aging and to those that they serve. More details are available here.
SEA 11. ABLE savings accounts.
Creates the “achieving a better life experience” (ABLE) state authority which allows for 529-type savings accounts for meeting the needs of persons with disabilities.
SEA 192. Adult protective services report and guardianship study.
Requires a study and report on the APS system to provide information on which to make biennial budget decisions. Also urges an interim study of visitation, communication and interaction with a protected person under a guardianship.
In the waning days of the 2016 Indiana General Assembly, there is hopeful progress for the protection of at-risk adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation, a growing problem for Indiana. SB 192 which requires legislative study of adult protection concerns has passed both chambers and could be on its way shortly to Governor Pence for signature. The study, due this December, will provide information on which to make decisions about increasing the adult protective services budget during the biennial state budgeting process in 2017. In the meantime, legislative leaders and the governor have agreed to provide additional dollars this year as a stop-gap measure to fund 18 additional investigators, one for each of the state’s 18 adult protective service regions. Read More