State releases five-year plan to reduce Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias impacts

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Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced recently that it has published a five-year state plan to mitigate and reduce the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for Colorado residents. 

The state plan outlines actions for addressing the special needs of Coloradans living with these disabilities and their care partners through an approach that reduces risk and promotes early detection and diagnosis.

“This plan represents an important roadmap for helping us to reduce the impacts of these devastating conditions across the state,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, CDPHE. “We are committed to working with our community partners to empower Coloradans to make informed decisions and to provide the best possible care for their loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s.” 

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the number of people aged 65 or older in Colorado with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will rise from 76,000 in 2020 to 92,000 by 2025. In 2021, approximately 159,000 care partners provided 184 million hours of unpaid care to individuals living with these conditions. 

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is one of the costliest diseases to manage. Nationwide, the cost of caring and providing care for people with Alzheimer’s disease was $350 billion in 2020 and is projected to increase to over $1.1 trillion by 2050.

The state plan outlines steps and actions the state and its partners can take to address Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in all populations, but also focuses on how to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic populations who experience the disproportionate impacts of dementia. Research shows that these groups are less likely to be diagnosed and experience multiple barriers to accessing care, services and support.

In 2020, the CDPHE received Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act federal funds to create a public health infrastructure to address dementia in Colorado. The department used this funding to support an inclusive, community-informed process to co-create the new Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias state plan, which included 16 public, private, government, health care, community-based and nonprofit organizations. 

For more information, visit the department’s CDPHE’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias webpage for resources, get involved or to learn more: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/chronic-disease-prevention/alzheimers-disease-and-related-dementias-adrd.