California recently completed two efforts toward improving how the state addresses Alzheimer’s. The California’s Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s Prevention, Preparedness and the Path Forward, chaired by former California First Lady Maria Shriver, presented recommendations to Governor Gavin Newsom in late 2020. The Task Force was charged with examining how Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately impacts women and people of color, and identifying the unique opportunities that California brings through its diverse populations and universities to research and develop solutions to address those underrepresented communities. Recommendations include appointing a senior advisor to coordinate all Alzheimer’s-related agency efforts; establishing an Alzheimer’s Disease public awareness campaign to educate the public about dementia, prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments; and developing a statewide standard of care to standardize how healthcare practitioners identify, screen and diagnose for dementia. The full report is available on the task force website.

In early 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom and the Administration released a 10-year blueprint to guide planning, investment and action on behalf of people with disabilities and older adults, including the 2.3 million Californians currently impacted by Alzheimer’s and all dementia. Working alongside consumers and providers, the Alzheimer’s Association advocated for key recommendations in the Master Plan for Aging to prepare California for a staggering 22 percent increase in the population affected by 2025. The Master Plan for Aging integrates the work of the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force. 

The Alzheimer's Association was represented on both task forces by Susan DeMarois, Director of Public Policy for the Alzheimer's Association's California chapters.


Equip Physicians with Dementia-Training to Increase Timely Diagnosis and Improve Care

Approximately 50% of people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias never receive a formal diagnosis. This limits their ability to engage in care planning and access available resources. Physicians and other medical professionals are on the front lines in addressing this critical issue, but we must ensure they have the training they need to make a diagnosis or referral to best serve their patient. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state legislators to support Senate Bill 48 to establish dementia training standards for physicians, physician assistants and social workers. With this change, more Californians with memory issues can be appropriately screened for cognitive impairment.

California 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.


California State Advocacy Day

March 04, 2021

This year our California State Advocacy Day is everywhere! Please join us on March 4th and 5th, 2021, as we advocate with our state legislators. While advocacy day, and our state legislature may look different this year, our determination to make a difference will always be the same. Register for more information and to join the fight to ensure everyone in California living with Alzheimer’s or dementia can receive a timely diagnosis.

Sign Up to Learn More About Advocacy Opportunities in California

Sign me up to participate in the upcoming State Advocacy Day!

State Affairs Contact Jared Giarrusso | 916-447-2731 [email protected]

Alzheimer's Facts and Figures in California

Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, an annual report released by the Alzheimer's Association®, reveals the burden of Alzheimer's and dementia on individuals, caregivers, government and the nation's health care system.


woman holding glasses


Individuals living with Alzheimer's in California

This number is projected to increase 21.7% between 2020 and 2025.

Nationally, there are more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer's. This number is expected to more than double by 2050.



Deaths from Alzheimer's in California in 2019

couple hugging on bench

There has been a 282% increase in Alzheimer's deaths since 2000. Alzheimer's is the 3rd leading cause of death in California.

There were 4,643 more deaths than expected from Alzheimer's and dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 19% higher than average.


caregiver hugging

Value of unpaid care work

Hours of unpaid care

Nationally, Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers provided nearly $257 billion in unpaid care in 2020. In California, there are 1,120,000 dementia caregivers, who each provide an average of 15 hours of unpaid care per week




per capita Medicare spending on people with dementia



Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer's in 2020

Hospice and Hospitals


# of people in hospice with a primary diagonsis of dementia


# of emergency department visits per 1,000 people with dementia

People with Alzheimer's disease have twice as many hospital stays per year as other older people. Nationally, emergency department visits for those with dementia have increased nearly 30% over the past decade.

The 2021 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report contains data on the impact of Alzheimer's on the nation and in every state across the country.
Visit to view the full report.