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

  • 71,000 people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in Colorado.
  • 10.8 percent of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 247,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Colorado.
  • 282 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $3.6 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $573 million 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 Colorado: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline, Dementia Caregiving

Public health spotlight

In Colorado, the Department of Public Health and Environment trained Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel about the unique communication and behavioral challenges posed by cognitive impairment and dementia.  

Read the full case study for additional information. 

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

The Colorado Alzheimer’s Coordinating Council (CACC) was authorized by the Colorado State Legislature in 2008 with the passage of Senate Bill 08-058. Members included representatives from state agencies, the state legislature, care providers, family caregivers, persons living with the disease and the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Tasked with creating a state plan on Alzheimer’s, the CACC focused on Colorado’s current public and private capacity to address Alzheimer’s, identify service and support gaps, and make recommendations to improve the care of those living with the disease, their caregivers and their families. The Colorado State Alzheimer Disease Plan: A Roadmap for Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving and Family Support Policies was published in November 2010.

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

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Raised awareness about the public health significance of Alzheimer’s disease by analyzing data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey modules on cognition and caregiving and disseminating findings.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Trained nearly 100 first responders how to effectively interact with people living with dementia, and created and distributed the workplace poster, Tips for EMS Working with People with Alzheimer’s to remind trainees of best practices.
Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging (Colorado) The legislatively authorized Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging included Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the Initial Strategic Action Plan on Aging for Colorado (2016).
Department of Public Health and Environment Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment—with local Alzheimer’s Association chapters—is teaching first responders how to effectively communicate with and serve people with dementia.

 
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Resources

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in Colorado (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Infographic: Cognitive Decline in Colorado (2015)

BRFSS + Caregivers

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