Lawmakers commit record funding to curing, treating Alzheimer’s disease
senior citizens

The $8.5 million boost in funding over last year's awaits the Governor's signature.

As the curtain closes on this Session, the Alzheimer’s Association in Florida is applauding lawmakers’ historic commitment to fighting the disease that’s going to be affecting more and more of the state’s population in the coming years.

The record $91 million that lawmakers allocated will support research, pay for respite for caregivers and help Alzheimer’s patients as they negotiate the disease’s effects, whether they are at home, getting treatment in a nursing home or trying to the doctor’s office via county bus.

One in eight of the state’s seniors are estimated to be coping with the disease that often brings about a slow death. The proportion of those affected is expected to grow even larger, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

In sheer numbers of people dealing with the disease, the state is second only to California, according to association officials.

“The state is a leader in dementia care,” said Matt Eaton, vice president of communications for the Florida chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Everyone we talk to has been open to advocacy” to help lessen the disease’s toll.”

He said that state’s commitment to funding the needs the disease represents has grown steadily year after year.

The major components of the state’s funding, as reflected in the budget that just passed the finish line, are:

— a $6 million increase for Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI) that is part of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, aimed at supporting the more than 827,000 individuals serving as unpaid caregivers. Caregivers need support and as of January 2024, the waitlist for respite services that give caregivers a break from their duties had 17,784 people on it.

— a $1.5 million increase for the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program, bringing the approved funding to $6.5 million. The program was created in 2014. to improve the prevention, diagnosis and the search for a cure.

— a $1.03 million increase for the Florida Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence (FACE), which will double the state’s commitment making all aspects of living with Alzheimer’s easier, whether getting the support that allows a patient to stay at home or get to the doctor’s office via public transportation.

The state budget awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis’ sign-off.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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