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Alzheimer's rules of court.

The Obama administration recently adopted a national strategy to fight Alzheimer's that sets a 2025 deadline to find ways to treat, not cure, this mind-destroying disease. In the meantime, the last Florida legislative session's fiasco in failing to address the need to overhaul the assisted living facilities system suggests that a crisis is nearing.

As per our state judicial system, there are no Alzheimer's rules of court. Maybe there should be, if only to accommodate as exceptions certain needs that Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers have that would make their lives easier when involved in court proceedings. I say so from personal experience.

The average yearly cost for caring for an Alzheimer's patient is $75,000. However, the costs can increase greatly if the patient has other medical needs. Florida attorneys who practice elder law, guardianship, estate planning, etc., should have much more to say than I do about the depletion of financial resources in relation to whether their clients are in the early onset versus the advanced onset stage of Alzheimer's dementia.

If any special Alzheimer's rules of court may be suggested for approval by the Florida Supreme Court, I would mention that for both Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers, the ADA coordinators should provide transportation services when needed; that a mandatory and expedited transfer of cases be approved for cases filed in a court that is an improper venue; and, that a "no call list" for collection agencies be created under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. On the last suggestion, I can only hope that a class action will be filed against collection agencies that contact debtors who are either Alzheimer's patients or their main caregivers.

In closing, I mentioned that I have personal experience on this topic. Many describe Alzheimer's dementia as the "slow goodbye." The Alzheimer's patient has fleeting moments of lucidity until there are no more and which render meaningless desperate words spoken that could not have been left unsaid. Mami, although you do not understand me, I love you and pray to be able to care for you until death.

A.L. Brignoni

Coral Gables
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Brignoni, A.L.
Publication:Florida Bar News
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jun 15, 2012
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