No money planned for Alzheimer's care in state budget

Jacksonville patient, caregiver worried about future care

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State lawmakers in Tallahassee are facing panic from people involved in healthcare.

The Senate's Health and Human Services committee has no money planned when it comes to funding efforts like Alzheimer's care.

"For Florida, for this state to consider removing Alzheimer's support activities from state budget is almost beyond belief," said Kay Redington, CEO of the Alzheimer's Association in Central and North Florida.

"The families would be suffering because they couldn't come to daycare," said Almost Home Adult Daycare Center's Jamie Glavich. "They we're looking at nursing home placement, which is really going to cost the government more money."

Groups like the Alzheimer's Association have called their members to action and to change lawmakers minds.

"Until you live it, you have no idea," said Ethel Burth, who cares for her husband Jerry.

Jerry's a proud veteran of the United States Navy, but he doesn't remember all of it, because he is battling dementia.

"He's wonderful and thank God he's still got his sense of humor, no matter what you know, he's pretty amazing," said Burth.

Burth has worked at home to take care of Jerry in the past, but she cannot manage it anymore. Now, she relies on, Almost Home Adult Daycare Center to help her with Jerry's care.

"People talk like, 'Well you just put him in a nursing home,' like it's nothing," said Burth. "This is your life. It's hard to do."

State Senator John Thrasher said he is fighting to keep funding for Alzheimer's care in the budget.

"I have every reason to believe Alzheimer's funding certainly will be sustained and hopefully even at a higher level," said Thrasher.

Thrasher, Senator Aaron Bean and Senator Audrey Gibson are the three senators on the appropriation committee concerning health and human services.

During the decision process, they will decide whether funding for programs many Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers depend on will continue.

Burth said places like Almost Home deserve the funding they rely on and said she wants lawmakers to know it's a program that is working.

"If you don't live in this situation, day by day, you don't understand. I never did, but now that I live it everyday, I know what hardship it is," said Burth. "It's a heartache, more than a hardship."

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