California State Policy Office of the Association Calls on California to Implement Road Map and Address Alzheimer’s Crisis
Sacramento, CA, October 18, 2018
– In an important effort to help state and local health departments address the growing Alzheimer’s crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer’s Association have released the third edition of the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map. State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia, The 2018- 2023 Road Map
, provides public health officials with a set of strategies to realize a better future for all communities impacted by dementia.
The Alzheimer’s disease continuum spans decades, providing many opportunities for public health to change outcomes across communities. Just as with other chronic and degenerative conditions, public health can reduce risk, expand early detection and diagnosis, improve safety and quality of care for people living with cognitive impairment, and attend to caregivers’ health and well-being.
“Achieving meaningful progress against Alzheimer’s requires an urgent public health response,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Public Policy Officer. “The Road Map provides the public health community with concrete steps to act quickly and strategically to stimulate needed changes in policies, systems, and environments.”
To focus the public health response, experts developed 25 actions for public health leaders that are adaptable for each community’s specific needs. These actions are grounded in traditional public health strategies so leaders can easily and efficiently incorporate Alzheimer’s into existing public health initiatives.
In California, 650,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s and 1.6 million are providing unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association® 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures
Data from the California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2015 indicate 11.7 percent aged 45 and over in California experienced subjective cognitive decline in the previous 12 months, and of those only 40 percent said they had discussed these changes with a health care provider.
To address staggering statistics like these, California should implement the recommendations in the Road Map.
“It’s not just a matter of doing the right thing by Californians,” said Susan DeMarois, Government Affairs Director for the Alzheimer’s Association in California. “In 2018, California will spend an estimated $3.8 billion on Medi-Cal costs for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. As our population ages, these costs will only rise. Implementing the road map is one way we can start to manage escalating health care costs.”
Data suggests just one in four Californians with Alzheimer’s has a formal diagnosis documented in their medical record. Lack of a proper diagnosis translates to more frequent emergency room visits and recurring hospital admissions, which drive up costs.
California’s Department of Public Health has already taken steps to educate doctors, including release in June 2018 of the Assessment of Cognitive Complaints Toolkit
. With the release of the Road Map, the Alzheimer’s Association is calling on California public health jurisdictions to take the next step: raising public awareness of the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and encouraging Californians to pursue a timely diagnosis.
For more information on the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map, visit alz.org/publichealth
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.