Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health crisis in California. Without an effective treatment or cure, the impact of Alzheimer’s will continue to rise and the numbers in California are escalating.
The most recent data show:

  • 650,000 people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in California.
  • 11.7 percent of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 1,616,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in California.
  • 1.8 billion hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $23 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $3.8 billion is the cost of Alzheimer’s to the state Medicaid program.

These numbers show that a public health approach is necessary to lessen the burden and enhance the quality of life for those living with cognitive impairment and their families.

Learn more about California: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline, Dementia Caregiving

Public health spotlight

In California, the Department of Public Health designed, released, and promoted an early detection and diagnostic toolkit, The Assessment of Cognitive Complaints Toolkit for Alzheimer's Disease (ACCT-AD). The ACCT-AD is designed to provide primary care providers with the tools necessary to recognize normal cognition, diagnose Alzheimer's disease, and identify other cognitive problems requiring specialty referral.

Learn more about the ACCT-AD including an overview of the California state clinical care guidelines on dementia.  

Explore core areas

Find public health resources and examples that drive action across Alzheimer's-specific core areas.

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State plan overview

In 2008, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 491 calling for the development of a state plan. Under the direction of the California Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee, established within the California Health and Human Services Agency, a task force was created including representatives from state agencies, community organizations, under-represented communities, and academia as well as health care providers, caregivers and individuals living with the disease. After incorporating public feedback to address California’s culturally diverse population, the Task Force published California’s State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease: An Action Plan for 2011-2021 in early 2011.

Resources for action

State and local public health agencies around the country are taking action against Alzheimer’s by implementing the Healthy Brain Initiative State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia: The 2018-2023 Road Map. Public health practitioners can learn by example and find resources to help guide their response below.
  

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Implementation

California Department of Public Health California Department of Public Health included Alzheimer’s data in its annual county health status profiles report
State of California California bill (SB-1292) requires the State Department of Public Health to update state-specific Alzheimer's disease statistics including current and future prevalence estimates, burden of dementia on the population (especially among at-risk and underrepresented populations), and publich the results.
California Department of Public Health Raised awareness of new guidelines among CDPH stakeholders with a short article in the CDPH quarterly newsletter
City of San Diego County public health agency conducted needs assessments in 2015 and 2016
City of San Diego City of San Diego published a city-wide evaluation of their dementia-readiness
City of San Francisco City of San Francisco developed and reported an evaluation aimed at improving dementia care
City of San Francisco Examined the costs and readmission rates of individuals with dementia in area hospitals.
City of San Francisco Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association convened a summit for emergency department physicians on detection and diagnosis.
City of San Francisco Utilizing recommendations of the San Francisco city plan, Strategy for Excellence in Dementia Care, to reduce hospital readmission rates among individuals with dementia.
City of Santa Clara Assessed where more resources are needed to assist in the early detection and diagnosis of individuals with dementia by mapping where people with dementia were "entering" the system (e.g., hospitals, aging services).
City of Santa Clara Examined the costs to meet the needs of those with dementia and the gaps in financial resources in the health care system (e.g. clinics, hospitals) that might impede the ability of people with dementia to receive complete care from diagnosis to end-of-life
Department of Public Health California Department of Public Health convened stakeholder meeting (including health plans, health care providers, researchers, and community organizations) to update the Guideline for Alzheimer’s Disease Management (via an NACDD grant)
Department of Public Health California Department of Public Health developed infographic flyers for the public about protecting brain health.
Department of Public Health California Department of Public Health worked with California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers to update the Alzheimer’s Clinical Care Guideline and provide a toolkit for community practitioners on early detection and diagnosis in support of the updated guideline.
Department of Public Health California Department of Public Health worked with the California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers to develop a toolkit for community practitioners on early detection and diagnosis. The toolkit will align with Alzheimer’s Clinical Care Guidelines.
Department of Public Health In FY2017, California Department of Public Health provided new funding to the state’s Alzheimer’s disease centers for targeted outreach to health professionals to increase early detection and diagnosis, in part through provision of tools.
Department of Public Health Updated the guideline for primary care providers on detection, diagnosis, communication of diagnosis, and care pathways; guidance includes information about the role of caregivers.
Los Angeles County Department. of Public Health Los Angeles County Department of Public Health—with the regional chapter of the National Black Nurses Association and potentially other organizations—held a community educational event that raised African Americans’ awareness of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive health issues.
San Diego County San Diego County Health & Human Services Department released report on Alzheimer’s disease in San Diego County

 
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Resources

Workforce Education: Health Professionals

California Alzheimer's Disease Centers Assessment of Cognitive Complaints Toolkit for Alzheimer's Disease

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in California (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Infographic: Cognitive Decline in California (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in California (2012)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in California (2011)
Alzheimer's Association Cognitive Impairment: Impact on Health in California (2009)

BRFSS + Caregivers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in California (2016)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Dementia Caregiving in California (2012)

Care and Advance Planning

California Department of Developmental Services Thinking Ahead: My Way, My Choice, My Life at the End

Additional Resources

California Alzheimer's Disease Centers Assessment of Cognitive Complaints Toolkit for Alzheimer's Disease
California Alzheimer's Disease Centers Assessment of Cognitive Complaints Toolkit for Alzheimer's Disease