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

  • 91,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in Colorado.
  • 10.8% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 177,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Colorado.
  • 307 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $7.2 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $789 million 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 Colorado: Alzheimer’s Statistics (PDF), Cognitive Decline (PDF), Dementia Caregiving (PDF), Risk Factors (PDF), County-Level Alzheimer's Prevalence (PDF)

Tribes in your state

Use the HBI Road Map for Indian Country to start conversations with tribal leaders on public health actions that can be taken to support brain health and caregivers. Find tribal leaders and federally recognized tribes in your state: Tribal Leaders Directory.

Public health spotlight

Explore public health action against Alzheimer’s

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

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In Colorado, the Department of Public Health and Environment trained Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel about the unique communication and behavioral challenges posed by cognitive impairment and dementia.  

Read the full case study for additional information.

In September 2020, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment received a Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Program Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

State plan overview

The Colorado Alzheimer’s Coordinating Council (CACC) was authorized by the Colorado State Legislature in 2008 with the passage of Senate Bill 08-058. Members included representatives from state agencies, the state legislature, care providers, family caregivers, persons living with the disease and the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Tasked with creating a state plan on Alzheimer’s, the CACC focused on Colorado’s current public and private capacity to address Alzheimer’s, identify service and support gaps, and make recommendations to improve the care of those living with the disease, their caregivers and their families. The Colorado State Alzheimer Disease Plan: A Roadmap for Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving and Family Support Policies was published in November 2010.

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 Road Map for Public Health, 2023–2027. Public health practitioners can learn by example and find resources to help guide their response below.  

Colorado Implementation

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Training webinar for health care facilities and providers about how to safely evacuate persons with dementia during an emergency
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Trained nearly 100 first responders how to effectively interact with people living with dementia, and created and distributed the workplace poster, Tips for EMS Working with People with Alzheimer’s to remind trainees of best practices.

Colorado Resources

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in Colorado (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Infographic: Cognitive Decline in Colorado (2015)

BRFSS + Caregivers

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