Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health crisis in California. The impact of Alzheimer’s is projected to rise, and the most recent data show:

  • 690,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in California.
  • 11.7% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 1,120,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in California.
  • 881 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $18.9 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $4.2 billion is the cost of Alzheimer’s to the state Medicaid program.

These numbers show that a public health approach is necessary to lessen the burden and enhance the quality of life for those living with cognitive impairment and their families.

Learn more about California: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline, Dementia Caregiving

Public health spotlight

Explore public health action against Alzheimer’s

Learn more about areas essential to addressing Alzheimer's from a public health perspective.

See Public Health Topics
In California, the Department of Public Health designed, released, and promoted an early detection and diagnostic toolkit, The Assessment of Cognitive Complaints Toolkit for Alzheimer's Disease (ACCT-AD). The ACCT-AD is designed to provide primary care providers with the tools necessary to recognize normal cognition, diagnose Alzheimer's disease, and identify other cognitive problems requiring specialty referral.

Learn more about the ACCT-AD including an overview of the California state clinical care guidelines on dementia.

In February 2020, the California Department of Health provided $5 million in grant funding to six local health departments to advance the Healthy Brain Initiative and promote cognitive health as an integral component of public health.  

State plan overview

In 2008, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 491 calling for the development of a state plan. Under the direction of the California Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee, established within the California Health and Human Services Agency, a task force was created including representatives from state agencies, community organizations, under-represented communities, and academia as well as health care providers, caregivers and individuals living with the disease. After incorporating public feedback to address California’s culturally diverse population, the Task Force published California’s State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease: An Action Plan for 2011-2021 in early 2011.

Resources for action

State and local public health agencies around the country are taking action against Alzheimer’s by implementing the Healthy Brain Initiative State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia: The 2018-2023 Road Map. Public health practitioners can learn by example and find resources to help guide their response below.
  

California Implementation
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California Department of Public Health Issued six competitive grants of $750,000 each to local health departments to implement actions of the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Maps — the local health departments funded are: Shasta, Placer, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Los Angeles and San Diego
California Department of Public Health California Department of Public Health included Alzheimer’s data in its annual county health status profiles report
State of California California bill (SB-1292) requires the State Department of Public Health to update state-specific Alzheimer's disease statistics including current and future prevalence estimates, burden of dementia on the population (especially among at-risk and underrepresented populations), and publish the results.
City of San Diego City of San Diego published a city-wide evaluation of their dementia-readiness
Department of Public Health California Department of Public Health worked with California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers to update the Alzheimer’s Clinical Care Guideline and provide a toolkit for community practitioners on early detection and diagnosis in support of the updated guideline.
Department of Public Health In FY2017, California Department of Public Health provided new funding to the state’s Alzheimer’s disease centers for targeted outreach to health professionals to increase early detection and diagnosis, in part through provision of tools.
San Diego County San Diego County Health & Human Services Department released report on Alzheimer’s disease in San Diego County

 
California Resources
State:
Issue:

Workforce Education: Health Professionals

California Alzheimer's Disease Centers Assessment of Cognitive Complaints Toolkit for Alzheimer's Disease

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in California (2020)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in California (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Infographic: Cognitive Decline in California (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in California (2012)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in California (2011)
Alzheimer's Association Cognitive Impairment: Impact on Health in California (2009)

BRFSS + Caregivers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in California (2016)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Dementia Caregiving in California (2012)

Care and Advance Planning

California Department of Developmental Services Thinking Ahead: My Way, My Choice, My Life at the End

Additional Resources

California Alzheimer's Disease Centers Assessment of Cognitive Complaints Toolkit for Alzheimer's Disease
California Alzheimer's Disease Centers Assessment of Cognitive Complaints Toolkit for Alzheimer's Disease