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

  • 280,000 people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in Pennsylvania.
  • 10.2 percent of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 675,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Pennsylvania.
  • 769 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $9.7 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $3.4 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 Pennsylvania: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline, Dementia Caregiving

Public health spotlight

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Health ran targeted social media ads to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s, dementia and brain health. In October 2018, HR 969 was adopted in the House unanimously. HR 969 is a Resolution urging the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health to designate Alzheimer's disease and related disorders as a public health issue.

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 February 2013, Governor Tom Corbett issued Executive Order 2013-01 to establish the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee. Twenty-six members were appointed to the committee which included a Pennsylvanian living with Alzheimer’s disease, representatives of families and caregivers of persons living with and caring for individuals living with ADRD, the aging network, other state departments, providers from across the care continuum, leading researchers in pursuit of a cure and better care, and members of the legislature. Chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Aging, the Planning Committee gathered public input from across the state to inform their recommendations. The Pennsylvania State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders was published in February 2014. The Department of Aging is currently focused on the implementation of the state plan and hosts an Annual Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Forum each fall.

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

State of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania bill (RH 969) resolves the Secretary of Health to designate Alzheimer's disease and related disorders a public health issue.

 
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Resources

Caregivers + BRFSS

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in Pennsylvania

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in Pennsylvania (2014)

BRFSS + Caregivers

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Dementia Caregiving in Pennsylvania (2015)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in Pennsylvania (2015)