The Florida Legislature must make Alzheimer’s a priority. Our state legislators must work to increase awareness and funding for Alzheimer’s disease and Florida must follow in the recent footsteps of Congress and increase funding for research.
In December of 2015, the president signed the new budget, which included an increase of $350 million for the National Institute of Health for Alzheimer’s disease.
This week, the Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida Chapter will be traveling with over 20 caregivers and individuals living with Alzheimer’s to advocate for an increase in funding for research and respite services.
More than 510,000 Floridians are living with Alzheimer’s, and more than 150,000 of those cases are in Southeast Florida. In Tallahassee, the association will be advocating for an increase in respite services. More than 3,600 people are on the wait-list for Alzheimer’s respite services, which are defined as any service which can keep Alzheimer’s patients at home and bring assistance to caregivers.
There are more than 1 million caregivers in the state providing more than 1 billion hours of unpaid care to their loved ones. We, as a state, must recognize this crisis and do all we can to address it. The Alzheimer’s Association supports an increase of $ 1.7 million for respite services.
The association will also be fighting for an increase of $6 million for Alzheimer’s research funding for the Ed and Ethel Moore Research Program, which awards money to universities and research centers who are working in the field. In 2015, just under $1 million was awarded to projects taking place at Florida Atlantic University and at the University of Miami.
Congress has shown that Alzheimer’s is a priority. Now it is time for our state to do the same.
Jennifer Braisted, Advocacy/Public Policy Coordinator, Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida Chapter West Palm Beach