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DeSantis boosts Alzheimer's, dementia funding, unveils 'Brain Bus'

Posted at 10:42 AM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 11:17:30-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Governor Ron DeSantis spoke from The Windsor at San Pablo, an assisted living facility in Jacksonville Monday morning, highlighting the efforts made towards the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's.

DeSantis 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.

“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.”


The "Brain Bus," one of two mobile education and awareness centers on Alzheimer's and dementia in the U.S. was unveiled.

Florida is the only state in the nation that has Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia listed as its own priority within a State Health Improvement Plan.

Gov. DeSantis signed a bill on June 16, 2021, implementing an alert system to help locate missing individuals with cognitive disabilities.

Sponsored by Boynton Beach Democratic Sen. Lori Berman, SB 184 establishes a Purple Alert system under the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

The Purple Alert system will dispatch alerts when an endangered adult goes missing with a mental or cognitive disability, a brain injury or another physical, mental or emotional disability. The bill passed nearly unanimously in both chambers.

Wandering can be a danger to a person with limited cognitive abilities, according to the bill analysis. Roughly 12 percent to 60 percent of those with a cognitive disability wander, and about 5 percent of wandering instances result in physical harm.

When a Purple Alert is issued, local law enforcement agencies will broadcast information to the media and subscribers in the area where the missing adult is believed to be located.

The alert can be broadcast on lottery terminals in locations like supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations.

If a missing person case is opened along with the Purple Alert, message signs on state highways would be activated.

Those with Alzheimer’s or another dementia disorder do not qualify under the Purple Alert, falling under the existing Silver Alert structure, which applies to the elderly or people with deteriorating intellectual faculties.

Earlier this month, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a proclamation for Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month in Florida.