As the number of people living with Alzheimer's and other dementia grows, so, too, will the need for caregiving. Much of this is unpaid caregiving from family and friends. This can take a toll on caregivers' health, well-being and productivity — and place a growing burden on communities. This is particularly the case for dementia caregiving, which often entails prolonged and intensive assistance.

Communities face a growing challenge to:

  • Improve knowledge and awareness among caregivers.
  • Ensure universal availability and access to needed services and supports.
  • Minimize fragmentation and inadequate coordination of care.
  • Fill gaps that preclude equity in caregiving.

To learn more of what public health can do, see: 

State-level and aggregated data on dementia caregiving from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System is available to inform public health action.

State successes: Supporting caregivers statewide

The Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Support Initiative through the New York State Department of Health is designed to support caregivers and people living with dementia in the community using evidence-based strategies Read the executive summary and full evaluation from the initiative’s first year.
 
As part of the Dementia Action Collaborative, the Washington State Department of Health developed and released the Washington State Dementia Road Map for Caregivers. This guide is designed to offer direction, explanation, and tips to help caregivers navigate the difficult journey of caring for someone with dementia.
 
The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) created Caregivers in the Workplace, an online training module designed to educate supervisors within LDH about ways to support their employees who are also caregivers. The module also educated supervisors about the unique needs and challenges faced by caring for someone with dementia (view the virtual case study).
 

Featured Resources

Alzheimer's Association & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Supporting Caregivers — Healthy Brain Initiative Issue Map
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Caregiving for Family and Friends: A Public Health Issue
National Indian Council on Aging Savvy Caregiver in Indian Country
Native America Calling Caring for Relatives with Dementia

 
Caregiver Support Resources
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Caregiver Support Implementation
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State University of New York-Plattsburgh To support caregivers in the St. Regis Mohawk Nation, an Alzheimer's Navigator delivers education and coordinates support groups throughout the area. Additional services (including respite, transportation assistance, and caregiving training) are offered.
AZ Arizona Department of Health Services To help expand caregiver support statewide, the Arizona Department of Health Services launched and joined the Arizona Dementia Caregivers Alliance (with over a dozen additional organizations). As part of this Alliance, partnered with a community organization (Duet) to expand its caregiver support programming through local health departments.
DC District of Columbia Department of Health DC Department of Health conducted a caregiver outreach campaign through radio and print media, and held a caregiver conference to increase knowledge of supports and services
HI Hawaii State Department of Health Through the Hawaii Alzheimer's Disease Initiative (HADI) — a collaboration of state agency and community partners — developed a memory care navigator program to connect the public to long-term care resources
HI Hawaii State Department of Health Through the Hawaii Alzheimer's Disease Initiative (HADI) — a collaboration of state agency and community partners — established a dementia speakers bureau to provide education to caregivers and the community
ID Idaho Department of Health & Welfare Describes the demographics of caregiving adults in Idaho and examines disparities between caregivers and non-caregivers in health outcomes, access to health care, and health-related behaviors
IN Indiana Department of Health Utilized BRFSS data to examine psychological distress among informal caregivers across the state
MD Maryland Department of Health Promoted advance directives by collaborating with: 1) the Maryland Faith Health Network, which educated more than 500 Marylanders about advance care planning through health fairs, faith-based events, and end-of-life educational seminars; and 2) three local health improvement coalitions, which educated almost 150 participants in seven courses on advance planning.
MN Minnesota Department of Health Informed efforts to make communities more supportive of people living with dementia and their caregivers by integrating cognitive and caregiver surveillance data and related resources into county fact sheets; MDH prioritized counties that have a high proportion of at-risk older adults.
MO Missouri Department of Health and Social Services Added "Honor a Caregiver during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month" to the MO DHSS homepage banner during November 2018 — clicking on the photo would take visitors to alz.org
NM New Mexico Department of Health Improved support for caregivers of people living with dementia by co-marketing chronic disease self management courses and caregiving education programs; initial outreach resulted in more than 150 caregiver-participants.
NM Department of Health New Mexico Department of Public Health’s September 2016 Employee Wellness newsletter (sent to 3,200 state employees) focused on healthy aging. It included basic information on education and support for family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias; the link between healthy lifestyle and brain health, with encouragement to use the ACL Brain Health Resource toolkit; and advance care planning (general).
NY New York State Department of Health New York State Department of Health, through its partnership with the University of Albany, conducted an online training for health care providers: Determining Caregiver Needs and Well Being.
RI Rhode Island Department of Health Established a new program — Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders — within the Rhode Island Department of Health to better assess and track state progress on risk reduction of cognitive decline and meeting the needs of people with dementia.
UT Utah Department of Health Prepared health care and other community professionals to effectively interact with people living with dementia by collaborating with the University of South Carolina to train over 50 people to teach Dementia Dialogues; the newly trained instructors delivered the five-session course to more than 500 community caregivers and health care workers over a 12-month period.
WI Wisconsin Department of Health Services Collaborated in implementation of state Alzheimer's disease plan by helping develop a caregiver road map titled Dementia Road Map: A Guide for Family and Care Partners.
WI Wisconsin Department of Health Services Developed online training for family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia and provides a list of resources for caregivers
WI Wisconsin Department of Health Services Wisconsin Department of Health Services and a designated group of stakeholders, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (UWO), Center for Career Development and Employability Training (CCDET) is developing a series of free, online trainings related to dementia care for crisis responders, caregivers, healthcare providers, family and community members, and other professionals. A Spanish-language version is available.