Bill To Create Dementia Director Moves Through Florida Legislature

A bipartisan bill that would create the position of Dementia Director within the Florida Department of Elder Affairs is making its way through the Legislature.

Palm Beach County State Representative Matt Willhite is a co-sponsor, with Scott Plakon, a House member from Longwood in Central Florida.

"Representative Plakon and myself, he's a Republican and I'm a Democrat...red and blue equals purple and purple is the color of Alzheimer's."

Willhite says the bill seeks to bolster the state's efforts to address dementia-related disorders with over 550,000 people in Florida having been diagnosed with a dementia-related illness and many others likely having one without knowing how to recognize the symptoms.

"We are working this year to create a statewide Dementia Director. (It's) going to fall under the Department of Elder Affairs and obviously they will keep track of everything that's going on with dementia."

He says that he and Plakon have been working on this for years and Willhite's confident it will get done this year.

"The governor already put this in his budget action, his proposed budget, so obviously we feel like we already have a lot of support from the governor."

The bill is being heard on Tuesday by the first of three committees it would need to pass in order to get a vote on the House floor. It's in the House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee, while a Senate companion bill has also been filed.

Photo: Getty Images

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