Increase Education on Early Detection and Timely Diagnosis
Currently, only 50% of those living with Alzheimer's disease receive a formal diagnosis. This needs to change. Educating clinicians, public health professionals and the public on the early warning signs of Alzheimer's and other dementias and the importance of a timely diagnosis is the first step in ensuring that anyone diagnosed with this disease can benefit from future treatments, care planning and clinical trials. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging legislators to support legislation to incorporate Alzheimer’s into existing public health campaigns to increase education among the health care providers on the benefits of early detection and diagnosis, risk reduction, and care planning.
Build a Dementia-Capable Workforce in Florida
Individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia have unique needs that often make care delivery, communication and interaction more challenging and demanding. Direct care workers in long-term care settings, in-home services and adult day settings often do not have sufficient dementia-specific knowledge to effectively support those living with the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state legislators to support legislation to ensure all direct care workers receive dementia-specific training following a culturally competent training curriculum that incorporates the principles of person-centered care to best address the needs of care recipients with dementia. Specifically, the Association is advocating for an additional three to four hours of dementia training upon hire and for direct care workers to receive four hours of continuing education in dementia each year.
Maintain Funding for Alzheimer’s Research and Services
With over 580,000 Floridians living with Alzheimer’s today and 1.15 million family members serving as dementia caregivers, Alzheimer’s is a public health crisis in Florida. Florida has been a leader in funding research around the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure for Alzheimer’s. In supporting people living with dementia and their families, the state has provided funding for critical home and community-based services, including respite care, enabling many Floridians with dementia to remain at home. Through public awareness efforts, Florida has funded efforts that educate minority communities about brain health, risk reduction and early detection. Without these funds, people with dementia and their families will struggle and progress on addressing Alzheimer’s will be very slow. While the upcoming Fiscal Year 2022 budget will be tight, the Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state leaders to protect funding for Alzheimer’s research and services from any cuts.
Florida State Plan Overview
In 2012, the Florida legislature passed HB 473, establishing the Purple Ribbon Task Force (PRTF) within the Department of Elder Affairs, consisting of 18 culturally diverse individuals appointed by the Governor, the President of the Florida Senate, and the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. The legislation required the PRTF to submit to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a report of its findings and date-specific recommendations in the form of an Alzheimer's disease state plan. The state plan is based upon the January 2013 “PRTF Interim Report.” The Task Force published the Final Report and Recommendations, State Plan on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Forms of Dementia (ADRD) in August 2013. Although the legislation terminates the task force with the submission of the state plan, the findings and date-specific recommendations in the state plan provide a catalyst to mobilize a state response to this public health crisis, and a guide to modernize state policy with respect to persons having ADRD. In 2019, enacted House Bill 449 (Chapter Law 2019-147), Section 430.501 F.S., requiring an updated State Alzheimer’s Plan every three years with a separate annual report required. The bill also updated the membership of the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee which supports the State Plan development. An updated Alzheimer's Disease State Plan was published in November, 2020.
Florida State Advocacy Day
March 09, 2021
Join fellow Alzheimer’s advocates for an exciting day of virtual advocacy urging Florida’s state lawmakers to support people with dementia and their families. We are planning multiple engaging virtual events with state government leaders to highlight the urgent need for dementia training for direct care workers and to fund critical support for family caregivers. Our advocacy day will mix storytelling, advocacy training and direct engagement with your state government representatives. And we will all wear purple to unify us in our virtual efforts!