Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health crisis in Pennsylvania. The impact of Alzheimer’s is projected to rise, and the most recent data show:
- 280,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in Pennsylvania.
- 9.6% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
- 404,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Pennsylvania.
- 646 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
- $10.7 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
- $3.7 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 Pennsylvania: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline, Dementia Caregiving
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In October 2018, HR 969
was unanimously adopted in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. HR 969 was a resolution urging the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health to designate Alzheimer's disease and related disorders as a public health issue. Since that time, in conjunction with Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month in June, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has published communication throughout each year to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s, dementia and cognitive health to the general public.
State plan overview
In February 2013, Governor Tom Corbett issued Executive Order 2013-01 to establish the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee. Twenty-six members were appointed to the committee which included a Pennsylvanian living with Alzheimer’s disease, representatives of families and caregivers of persons living with and caring for individuals living with ADRD, the aging network, other state departments, providers from across the care continuum, leading researchers in pursuit of a cure and better care, and members of the legislature. Chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Aging, the Planning Committee gathered public input from across the state to inform their recommendations. The Pennsylvania State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders was published in February 2014. The Department of Aging is currently focused on the implementation of the state plan and hosts an Annual Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Forum each fall.
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.
No known public health action at this time.