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

  • 24,000 people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in Rhode Island.
  • 11.5% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 55,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Rhode Island.
  • 61 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $800 million is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $470 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 Rhode Island: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline, Dementia Caregiving

Public health spotlight

Explore core areas

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

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The Rhode Island Department of Health state epidemiologist and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) coordinator analyzed the state’s Cognitive Module data to better understand the burden of subjective cognitive decline and co-morbidities. To educate health care providers and health leaders, they published the results in the Rhode Island Medical Journal. View Subjective Cognitive Decline and Associated Health Problems among Rhode Island Adults.

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RI DOH) created the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Program — including a full-time state employee — to better assess the state’s preparation and ability to respond to Alzheimer’s. 

The Rhode Island Department of Health partnered with local agencies to educate and train health care professionals about person-centered care for people living with dementia.  

State plan overview

In April 2012, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 2858, directing the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council to lead a workgroup on the development of a state plan, to be co-chaired by the chair of the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council, the lieutenant governor or designee and the director of the division of elderly affairs. The Workgroup collected public feedback and published Rhode Island’s State Plan on Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders in September 2013. In February 2019, the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council published the 2019 update, Rhode Island State Plan on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorderswhich creates a position within the State Department of health to address Alzheimer’s, establishes an advisory council to oversee activity, establishes training requirement for medical professionals, and requires health care facilities to have plans to serve those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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

Rhode Island Department of Health Established a new program - Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders - within the Rhode Island Department of Health to better assess and track state progress on risk reduction of cognitive decline and meeting the needs of people with dementia.
Rhode Island Department of Health Rhode Island Department of Health, Division of Chronic Conditions partnered with local health care organizations to educate providers about person-centered care, including for people living with dementia
Department of Health BRFSS Office and state epidemiologist analyzed 2015 Cognitive Module data and are preparing a manuscript, which will be submitted to a regional medical journal.

 
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Resources

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

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

BRFSS + Caregivers

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Dementia Caregiving in Rhode Island (2017)