Since the publishing of “New Initiative for Alzheimer’s Proposed,” I have had the honor of joining other Alzheimer’s Association advocates and staff at the California Central Coast Chapter’s recognition as Nonprofit of the Year by Assemblymember Limón on June 5. While in Sacramento, our group dropped in to Capitol offices to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s Brain Awareness Month in June and to ask for co-authorship of our priority legislation. I like to think that as a result of our efforts and Assemblymember Limón‘s leadership, we are several steps closer to initiating local efforts to address Alzheimer’s disease.
AB 388 (Limón) has passed several legislative hurdles in the meantime. Most significantly, the bill passed out of the Assembly and is now making its way through the Senate. In addition, the companion budget proposal that would ensure funding for local efforts was included in the State Budget being considered by the governor at the reduced level of $5 million in onetime investment. Although it still may seem like a lot of money, it is quite small compared to the billions of dollars that our state is projected to spend if we don’t take action now.
California can’t afford to wait. We need to start investing in a public health infrastructure now. That’s why I am calling for Governor Newsom to sign AB 388 once it gets to his desk and to approve funding for early detection and diagnosis in the budget. With a growing aging population and the cost of care on the rise, this proposal really is a “know brainer.”
Leigh Cashman is vice chair of the Alzheimer’s Association, California Central Coast Chapter Board of Directors.