Alzheimer's is a growing public health crisis and state governments must take bold action. Effectively implementing and updating State Alzheimer’s Plans and supporting other policies will reduce the long-term impact of the disease on state budgets, and improve the lives of individuals living with dementia and their family caregivers. The Alzheimer's Impact Movement is committed to working with state governments on policies that improve the lives of those affected by Alzheimer's. To achieve this goal we work to:
Most people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease are not aware of their diagnosis, and only about half of those with Alzheimer's have been diagnosed. Diagnosis — and disclosure of that diagnosis — is necessary for care planning, which is critical to improving outcomes for the individual. State officials must work to educate health care providers and the public about the importance of early detection and diagnosis, and improve access to and awareness of resources such as the Medicare Annual Wellness visit. Through public health campaigns and data collection via the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) state governments can further address Alzheimer's in their states.
As our nation ages more people will develop Alzheimer's and need quality care, however a shortage of qualified health care workers could jeopardize care for individuals living with Alzheimer's and other dementias. State governments need to implement policies that will create incentives and career pathways to recruit and retain health care professionals, require competency-based dementia training for all involved in the delivery of care, and require training of adult protective services workers and law enforcement about how to recognize and interact with individuals living with dementia.
People living with dementia and their caregivers often prefer to keep the individual living in the home for as long as is manageable. In fact, 70 percent of people with Alzheimer's live in the community. State governments can reduce long-term costs and increase access to person-centered care in home and community settings including respite and adult day care, regardless of age or financial status through Medicaid and other state-supported programs.
Alzheimer's requires a wide range of evolving care and services, and as the disease advances individuals often need to move into residential settings for more specialized care. In fact, among individuals with Alzheimer's, 75 percent will be admitted to a nursing home by the age of 80. It is important that state governments have in place laws to protect people with dementia from improper displacement in residential settings. State governments must also increase Medicaid reimbursement rates to reflect the higher cost of care for individuals living with Alzheimer's and other dementias to ensure residential care settings remain accessible to the population and their needs.
Total Medicaid Costs for Americans Age 65 and Older Living with Alzheimer's or Other Dementias by State
|District of Columbia||$122||$133||9.0%|
All cost figures are reported in 2019 dollars. State totals may not add to the U.S. total due to rounding. Excerpted from the Alzheimer's Association's 2019 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report. See the full report for methodology (alz.org/facts).