Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Carmelo G. Garcia, Joseph Lagana, Adam Taliaferro, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joe Danielsen, Jamel Holley, Daniel Benson and Angelica Jimenez to ensure that fatalities linked to Alzheimer's disease are properly recorded in official records was signed into law on Monday.
The new law (A-4188) stipulates that Alzheimer's disease and related disorders may be listed as a secondary cause of death on a certification of death. Often, the primary cause of death on a death certificate is identified as an acute condition, such as pneumonia or heart failure. Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, however, cause a decline in brain function that may lead to problems with feeding and swallowing and can put an individual at risk for poor nutrition, dehydration and infection. This may significantly increase the risk of developing, and exacerbate the effects of, the acute condition that ultimately is listed as the primary cause of death on the person's death certificate.