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

  • 135,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in Massachusetts.
  • 9.3% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 213,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Massachusetts.
  • 246 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $5.6 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $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 Massachusetts: 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.

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

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In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health is charged with improving health outcomes among individuals living with dementia who stay in acute-care settings.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) regularly issues guidance to all hospitals to develop plans for disclosing a dementia diagnosis to people living with dementia and their families. MA DPH is also charged with ensuring clinicians receive dementia training conditional to licensing.

State plan overview

In 2010, Governor Patrick Deval directed the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter, to draft a state plan addressing Alzheimer’s disease within the state. In response, these two agencies convened an Advisory Committee that included families and individuals impacted by the disease as well as representatives from state and local health and human services agencies, councils on aging, academia, public safety agencies and professional caregiver associations. Gathering public input, the Advisory Committee published the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders State Plan in February 2012.

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.  

Massachusetts Implementation

Boston Public Health Commission Boston Public Health Commission released report including dementia measure

Massachusetts Resources

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

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