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

  • 55,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in Kansas.
  • 11.4% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 86,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Kansas.
  • 96 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $1.4 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $473 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 Kansas: 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.

Public Health Topics
In Kansas, the Department of Health and Environment trained extension office agents about brain health and how certain healthy behaviors may reduce the risk of future cognitive impairment.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KS DHE) developed a social media public awareness campaign — Know the Signs of Alzheimer’s. KS DHE actively measured user engagement of the campaign, allowing for additional tailoring and targeting to reach priority populations.

State plan overview

In May 2019, Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order No. 19-08, establishing the Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force. The Task Force was charged to assess the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the state, examine existing capacity to meet the needs of persons with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, and develop a strategy to mobilize the state response to this public health crisis. The Task Force divided into committees to research topics important to the state and in January 2020, published the 2020 Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Plan. Read the executive summary.

In April of 2021, the Kansas Legislature signed into law a bill creating the Senior Care Task Force. The main purpose of the task force is to study:

  • Provision of care for Kansas older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other age-related mental health conditions.
  • Administration of antipsychotic medication to adult care home residents.
  • Safeguards to prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults in the state.
  • Adult care home surveys and fines.
  • Funding and implementation of the Senior Care Act.
  • Senior daycare resources in the state.
  • Rebalancing of home and community-based services.

The Kansas Senior Care Task Force has 22 members including a representative from the Alzheimer's Association. The task force will submit a preliminary progress report to the legislature detailing the task force's study under this section in early 2022 and a final report in early 2023.

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.  
 

Kansas Implementation
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Kansas Department of Health and Environment Raised awareness of Alzheimer's and early warning signs through a three-month targeted social media campaign, using the Alzheimer's Association "Know the 10 Signs" video campaign. Through evaluation, learned that future outreach would best reach Kansans aged 35-44, 65+, and women aged 55-64.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment Increased public awareness of risk reduction messages to enhance early detection and reduce stigma via a partnership with the Kansas State Extension Office; trained almost 50 Extension Officers to educate Kansans about Alzheimer’s and brain health in counties across the state.

 
Kansas Resources
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Risk Factors + Risk Reduction

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Subjective Cognitive Decline in Kansas

Caregivers + BRFSS

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in Kansas (2017)

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Subjective Cognitive Decline in Kansas (2019)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Subjective Cognitive Decline in Kansas (2019)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in Kansas (2016)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Cognitive Decline in Kansas (2016)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in Kansas (2013)

BRFSS + Caregivers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in Kansas (2017) (2017)

Care and Advance Planning

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Subjective Cognitive Decline in Kansas
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in Kansas (2017)

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Dementia Caregiving in Kansas (2017)