Support Dementia Caregivers by Establishing an Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program

There are over 444,000 Tennesseans providing unpaid care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Providing this care often comes at a great expense both financially and to the caregiver’s health. Those who take on the exhausting labor of love that is caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s need support. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state policymakers to enact legislation to deliver home and community-based services including respite to those living alone with Alzheimer's and those being cared for in home by a family member or other informal caregiver. The Colonel Thomas G. Bowden Memorial Act will create a pilot program, OPTIONS for Dementia Care, which will provide Tennesseans with Alzheimer's and dementia with services such as respite care, homemaker services, personal care, and home delivered meals.

Increase Education on Early Detection and Timely Diagnosis

Currently, only 50% of those living with Alzheimer's disease receive a formal diagnosis. This needs to change. Educating clinicians, public health professionals and the public on the early warning signs of Alzheimer's and other dementias and the importance of a timely diagnosis is the first step in ensuring that anyone diagnosed with this disease can benefit from future treatments, care planning and clinical trials. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging legislators to support legislation to incorporate Alzheimer’s into existing public health campaigns to increase education among the public and health care providers on the benefits of early detection and diagnosis, risk reduction, and care planning.

Tennessee State Plan Overview

In July 2007, the Tennessee General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 826 (Public Chapter No. 566) establishing the Tennessee Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force (TADTF) to assess the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease in Tennessee, examine services and resources, and draft a state strategy to respond to Alzheimer’s within the state. The Task Force included representatives from long-term care organizations, adult day providers, physician groups, community organizations, state agencies, caregivers, individuals living with the disease and state legislators. In February 2009 the Task Force published the Tennessee Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force Final Report.

In May of 2019, the Tennessee General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 28 (Public Chapter No. 364) establishing the Tennessee Alzheimer's Disease Advisory Council to assess the current and future impact of Alzheimer's disease in Tennessee, examine services and resources, and draft a state strategy to respond to Alzheimer's within the state. The Advisory Council includes representatives from long-term care organizations, stakeholders, physician groups, community organizations, state agencies, caregivers, individuals living with the disease, and state legislators. In January 2020 the Advisory Council published the updated Alzheimer's and Related Dementia State Plan.


Tennessee State Advocacy Day

March 08, 2021

Join your fellow Alzheimer's advocates for an exciting week of advocacy! We will kick off our week of virtual advocacy on Monday, March 8th with a rally and an advocacy 101 training with Tennessee's policy team. Learn tips for effective communication, storytelling, and engagement on Alzheimer's policy priorities. Attendees will have the opportunity throughout the week to engage one-on-one with elected officials to tell personal stories and garner support for Alzheimer's legislation. We will cap off the week with a town hall style meeting with legislative leadership. Hope to see you there!

Sign Up to Learn More About Advocacy Opportunities in Tennessee

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State Affairs Contact Rachel Blackhurst | [email protected]

Alzheimer's Facts and Figures in Tennessee

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 Tennessee

This number is projected to increase 16.7% 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 Tennessee in 2019

couple hugging on bench

There has been a 218% increase in Alzheimer's deaths since 2000. Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in Tennessee.

There were 1,173 more deaths than expected from Alzheimer's and dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 18% 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 Tennessee, there are 357,000 dementia caregivers, who each provide an average of 26 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 alz.org/facts to view the full report.