headshots of Florida Reps. Matt Willhite, left, and Scott Plakon
Florida Reps. Matt Willhite, left, and Scott Plakon

An Office of Alzheimer’s Disease would be created in Florida under a bill introduced Monday in the state House of Representatives by Rep. Matt Willhite, a Democrat, and Rep. Scott Plakon, a Republican.

“The legislation that we are introducing today will help to position Florida as a national leader as we tackle how we, as a state, can provide services for our constituents who currently live with this disease and the 1.1 million caregivers that sacrifice so much,” Plakon told Florida Politics.

HB 835 would create the office in the Department of Elder Affairs, with the director of the office appointed by the secretary of elder affairs. Effective July 1, 2021, the office would be housed administratively within the executive office of the governor.

The office would in part:

  • Coordinate dementia-related policies and programs within the department, other state agencies, the executive office of the governor and the legislature.
  • Assist the state Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee in submitting and implementing the state’s Alzheimer’s plan.
  • Compile and monitor data related to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related disorders throughout the state.

Approximately 560,000 Florida residents aged 65 or more years have Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.