By 2025, there will be more people with Alzheimer’s disease living in Florida than who currently live within the city limits of Tampa and Orlando combined.
Alzheimer’s is a heartbreaking disease which attacks the brain and leads to memory loss, confusion, behavioral changes, and, ultimately, death. There are approximately six million cases of Alzheimer’s disease reported in the United States. Nearly 10 percent of those people live in Florida, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
In light of these staggering numbers and in recognition of the realities of this devastating disease, Florida designated June as Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and at a Alzheimer’s Association event today Governor Ron DeSantis discussed his commitment to the advancement of research needed for this disease.
Today, the governor highlighted a more than $12 million increase in Alzheimer’s and dementia funding, bringing the state’s total commitment to over $51 million for the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year.This funding has gone up five-fold since 2010-11, when funding was $8,362,20 and served roughly 2,300 patients.
Florida has the largest share of the elderly population of all the states, with one in every five residents over the age of 65 and about nine percent of the population over 75.
Florida also has the second highest prevalence for Alzheimer’s in the nation, according to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. In 2020, there were roughly 580,000 Florida residents over the age of 65 with Alzheimer’s. The number is estimated to increase to 720,000 by 2025 which is a 24.1 percent increase in just five years.
According to Elder Affairs, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in Florida.
Florida is the only state in the nation that has Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias listed as a priority within a State Health Improvement Plan.
“In Florida, we continue to put our Seniors First,” said DeSantis. “Some of the most difficult health conditions that impact many seniors are Alzheimer’s and dementia and as more innovative early intervention therapies are developed to mitigate the effects and severity of these conditions, awareness of the initial signs and symptoms are increasingly important. Our strong financial commitment of $51 million allows Florida to prioritize the advancement of research and support needed for this disease.”
Each year, the Florida Department of Health awards grants and fellowships through the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program. This program funds research related to Alzheimer’s disease, improving the health of Floridians by studying the diagnosis and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Last year, the Florida Department of Health announced 22 projects to receive grant funding, totaling $4.5 million.
Additionally, research into potential treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s disease is ongoing across the country and is bringing hope to those potentially facing this dreaded disease.
Just this month came the announcement of a newly FDA-approved drug from Biogen called Aduhelm. It is reportedly the first new Alzheimer’s treatment in almost 20 years.