Montana Lawmaker Seeks to Get Alzheimer’s and other Dementia Sufferers Out of Involuntary Committal

From NBC Montana, a look at how broad some places define “mentally ill.”

“Montana Rep. Danny Tenenbaum (D-Missoula), also works as a public defender. About a year ago, a case came across his desk that caught his eye.

“For me, it was a problem I didn’t know existed until a year ago when a case came through our office,” he said. “A person was committed involuntarily to the state mental hospital, and they weren’t mentally ill. They just had Alzheimer’s.”

According to Tenenbaum, about ⅓ of the people currently in the state mental hospital are there for Alzheimer’s or other dementia related conditions. Under the terms of the bill he is proposing, those patients would instead be placed in residential care facilities rather than the state mental hospital. However, the bill still needs sponsors, and will likely not be voted on until the 2023 legislative session.

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