TAMPA, Fla. - Governor DeSantis is strengthening Florida's commitment to Alzheimer's disease. Monday, he announced that the state's $10 billion budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year will include $51 million in funding for Alzheimer's and dementia – a $12 million increase from last year.
"Despite those numbers, we're undeterred. We're committed to offering our support and look forward to the medical breakthrough that will eventually bring a cure," Governor DeSantis said at a new conference in Jacksonville Monday.
In Florida, Alzheimer's disease has become a growing public concern, with the state second in the nation behind California for having the largest population of people living with the disease.
"That's awesome. That's incredible. I think we need more frankly. I don't think people really understand how epidemic this truly is." Kathleen Scovel with the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association said.
Currently, more than half a million Floridians are living with Alzheimer's disease. It accounts for about one-tenth of the nation's 5.8 million cases.
"People I talk to say 'Oh my gosh, I have a grandma.' 'I have an uncle.' 'I've watched my mom go through this.' ‘My mom is going through this right now.’ It just touches so many lives. It's two to three degrees of separation. It truly is," Scovel said.
As part of the funding, $6.7 million will go to helping families with Alzheimer's patients who are in need of supportive care and other services. Another $5 million will be put aside for research.
It's a commitment Scovel hopes will eventually help lead to a cure.
"We have drugs that will slow the progression, but there's no cure for it. Unlike other diseases where they are cures. It would be incredible to find a cure," Scovel said.