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Florida approves millions in funding for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases

Funding critical to treat Alzheimer's
Funding critical to treat Alzheimer's 01:18

MIAMI — June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, but the Alzheimer's Association works year-round to raise money for research and programs to help those impacted by the disease.

Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis approved millions of dollars in support of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases as part of the fiscal year 2024-2025 budget.

The Alzheimer's Association has a team dedicated to government affairs. Last year, they successfully lobbied for Medicare to cover newly approved drug therapies for Alzheimer's.

This year, they've secured $91 million in funding to help with research and programs, including those geared toward caregivers — who often give up their own paying careers to look after loved ones with Alzheimer's full-time without pay.

As of now, almost 18,000 people are on a waitlist for critical respite services.

Financial support for caregiving families

The state recently approved a $6 million increase for Alzheimer's Disease Initiative (ADI), which is meant to help families who need that financial support.

Angelique Suarez has been a caregiver and now she's an advocate with the Alzheimer's Association.

"I've learned so much and I feel like if people understand the disease and the process and what's going on, the person who is living with the disease will have a very different journey and the caregivers and the family will have a very different journey as well," Suarez told CBS News Miami. 

One recent legislative win hits close to home for Suarez, because of her own father's experience with Alzheimer's disease.

"My father, who was in New Jersey, got in his car twice and he got lost once for 22 hours and once for 24 hours," she explained.

She said that six out of 10 people with Alzheimer's disease will wander.

"One of the bills that we just got passed this year in Tallahassee, which I'm so thankful and very, very proud about is to get education for law enforcement officials," Suarez said. "A law enforcement official will come across somebody with dementia wandering and it's so important that they know that they can understand their behavior or how they talk to them."

Illuminating Alzheimer's: Important resources 00:39

One in eight Florida seniors lives with Alzheimer's disease

According to the Alzheimer's Association, one in eight Florida seniors is estimated to be living with the disease.

By 2030, the entire baby boomer generation will be age 65 and older — the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's.

The Alzheimer's Association also operates the Brain Bus: two large buses that travel the state, mainly to underserved communities to provide education, specifically on the importance of early detection and risk reduction.

The state approved almost $500,000 in funding for the Brain Bus for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Brain Bus will be in Miami on June 22 and Wilton Manors on June 25.

For exact locations, times, and a complete list of upcoming stops, visit

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