To achieve meaningful progress against Alzheimer's disease, it must be considered and addressed as a public health crisis. The tools of public health give us the ability to intervene and improve the quality of life for those with the disease and their caregivers. 

Alzheimer's disease basics

Learn about detection, causes, risk factors, stages, and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's facts

The facts about Alzheimer's disease are startling:

While the number of deaths from heart disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, HIV and stroke are declining, the number of Alzheimer's deaths is rising.

  • Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's.
  • By 2050, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease may grow to nearly 14 million.
  • The cost of caring for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias is an estimated $277 billion in 2018.
  • Family and friend caregivers provide $230 billion in additional unpaid care.
  • The direct costs of care are projected to be more than $1 trillion in 2050.

Learn more: Alzheimer's Association Facts and Figures 

Resources for action

The Alzheimer's Association has created resources for public health practitioners to mobilize their communities and help them take action. These include an action guide with resources for and examples of implementation of Road Map actions and a toolkit for conducting needs assessments for populations affected by dementia. Public Health Spotlights are short summaries of important Alzheimer's issues and bibliographies are expansive collections of key resources to aid and educate public health officials.

What can you do

The Alzheimer's Association has outlined three priority areas of action for the public health community:
  1. Implement the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map
  2. Increase early detection of Alzheimer's.
  3. Promote brain health — risk reduction is the ultimate public health imperative.

Learn more: Alzheimer's Association 2018 Public Health Priorities (PDF)

Communicating with people living with dementia

In this set of three videos, Dr. Steven Sabat of Georgetown University speaks about the importance of the language used to communicate with persons who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. He describes how the words we use can lessen the social stigmas associated with dementia. Stories illustrate different communications choices with regards to the selfhood of people with dementia.

About the Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
Learn more: About the Alzheimer's Association

Contact us

For more information on Alzheimer's disease and public health, contact Molly French.