Gov. DeSantis signs into law Alzheimer’s education programs as more Floridians battle the disease

By: - June 23, 2022 4:50 pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill on Alzheimer’s disease. June 23, 2022. Credit: Screenshot. First Coast News.

With more than 580,000 people in Florida living with Alzheimer’s disease — and thousands more diagnosed by 2025 — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed into law efforts to educate health care practitioners on disease and dementia-related disorders.

The bill, which becomes effective July 1, is called “Ramping up Education of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia for You (READY) Act.”

The new law will focus on efforts such as the importance of early detection and timely diagnosis of the disease and reducing the risk of cognitive decline, particularly among persons in diverse communities, according to a legislative analysis.

The document also shows that by 2025, a projected 720,000 Floridians will have Alzheimer’s disease — a progressive illness related to serious memory loss.

“Most individuals with Alzheimer’s can live in the community with support, often provided by spouses or other family members. In the late stages of the disease, many patients require care 24 hours per day and are often served in long-term care facilities,” the analysis said.

DeSantis, speaking at a press conference in Broward County, said:

“Alzheimer’s is a very destructive illness. It’s something that of course afflicts the individual who has it and also has an enormous impact on the family and caretakers. Really unlike any other disease that we face…with an elderly population this is something that we put a lot of emphasis on since I become governor.”

The governor touted that he has pushed Alzheimer’s initiatives and expanded funding for the disease during his tenure.

“We want to help those living with Alzheimer’s,” DeSantis said. “But we also would like to play a part in helping the research and treatment.”

At the end of the news conference, when reporters can ask questions, one reporter wanted to ask about a U.S. Supreme Court decision. But another reporter said that he would stay on topic.

“I’ll tell you what,” DeSantis said. “Is there anyone who wants to ask about Alzheimer’s?”

The questions continued, and DeSantis said he supported the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday on concealed carry laws, with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas writing the opinion.

Another reporter asked about Andrew Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor and 2018 gubernatorial candidate who lost to DeSantis and has now been indicted.

The reporter mentioned that Gillum described DeSantis as a liar and a racist.

DeSantis responded by saying, among of things, that Gillum was propped up by the media. “What was presented to the public was this guy was like the second coming.”

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