Ensure a Public Health Approach to Address Alzheimer’s and Dementia in PA

Pennsylvania released its first comprehensive Alzheimer’s State Plan in 2014 and a Task Force was appointed through the Department of Aging in May 2018 to lead implementation. However, little progress has been made to improve the state’s overall approach to addressing Alzheimer’s. This growing public health crisis drains physical, emotional and financial health of all impacted including state government resources. Different government agencies administer a variety of programs critical to people living with dementia and these efforts are often siloed, with multiple state agencies working separately from one another. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to approve legislation to create an Alzheimer’s Division within the Department of Health with a full-time director, codify an Alzheimer’s Advisory Committee, and implement the Alzheimer’s State Plan.

Equip Pennsylvania With a Dementia-Capable Workforce

Individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia have unique needs that often make care delivery, communication and interaction more challenging and demanding. Direct care workers in long-term care settings, in-home services and adult day settings often do not have sufficient dementia-specific knowledge to effectively support those living with the disease. At the same time, adult protective services workers, law enforcement and first responders are among the first to be contacted and interact regarding emergencies, abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. The Alzheimer’s Association will educate state policymakers on the importance of a dementia-capable workforce and advocate for legislation and regulations that provide competency-based dementia training for all direct care workers, and dementia-specific training for adult protective service workers, law enforcement personnel and first responders.

Protect Residents In Long Term Care Settings From COVID-19 and Social Isolation

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, long-term care (LTC) residents, their families and staff have been in crisis. For those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, maintaining a daily routine and receiving person-centered care is paramount to their overall cognitive, physical and behavioral health. This is especially important considering that nearly half of LTC residents are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. As the threat of the pandemic continues, the Alzheimer’s Association will continue working with state leaders to evaluate legislation, regulations, and other public policies to ensure people living with dementia have access to high quality, person-centered care while ensuring appropriate prevention and mitigation strategies remain in place to allow for safe visitation.

Pennsylvania 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 agencies, 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.


Pennsylvania State Advocacy Day

June 07, 2022

Mark your calendars for Thursday, June 2nd at Noon to join the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s and dementia advocates from across the Commonwealth for a “Live - Virtual Advocate Pep Rally!” Prepare to be energized, educated and empowered around the Association’s PA public policy priorities to get advocates ready for the Association’s Virtual PA Advocacy Day that will take place the following week on Tuesday, June 7th. Special guests joining us live at the pep rally will be: Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging, Robert Torres Brian Duke, former Secretary of Aging under the Corbett Administration Teresa Osborne, former Secretary of Aging under the Wolf Administration Tuesday, June 7th will be the Alzheimer’s Association PA Virtual Advocacy Day, where advocates from across the Commonwealth will be calling, sending emails and “getting social” with their state lawmakers from the comfort of their own home to advocate for important public policies.

Sign Up to Learn More About Advocacy Opportunities in Pennsylvania

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

State Affairs Contact Jennifer Ebersole | 717-364-9102 [email protected]

Alzheimer's Facts and Figures in Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania

This number is projected to increase 14.3% 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 Pennsylvania in 2019

couple hugging on bench

Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in Pennsylvania.

There were 1,837 more deaths than expected from Alzheimer's and dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 15% 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 2021. In Pennsylvania, there are 401,000 dementia caregivers, who each provide an average of 31 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.