Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health crisis in Tennessee. The impact of Alzheimer’s is projected to rise, and the most recent data show:
- 120,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in Tennessee.
- 13% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
- 367,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Tennessee.
- 496 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
- $7.7 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
- $1 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 Tennessee: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline, Dementia Caregiving
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In Tennessee, the Department of Health educated the public health workforce about cognitive health, health indicators, diagnosis and community resources through a statewide issue brief and live webcast training.
The Tennessee Department of Health (TN DOH) developed The Healthy Brain Toolkit for Public Health designed to educate public health professionals about the intersection of chronic disease and Alzheimer’s. TN DOH launched a public awareness campaign about cognitive health about how individuals can reduce their risk of cognitive decline.
In September 2021, the Tennessee Department of Health 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
In July 2007, the Tennessee General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 826 (Public Chapter No. 566) establishing the Tennessee Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force (TADTF) to assess the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease in Tennessee, examine services and resources, and draft a state strategy to respond to Alzheimer’s within the state. The Task Force included representatives from long-term care organizations, adult day providers, physician groups, community organizations, state agencies, caregivers, individuals living with the disease and state legislators. In February 2009, the Task Force published Tennessee Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force Final Report. The latest update to the plan was published in January 2020 — Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia: Tennessee State Plan.
In May of 2019, the Tennessee General Assembly voted to pass SB 28/ HB 37, which created the State Alzheimer’s Advisory Council. This bill became public chapter 34. In May of 2020, the state legislature voted to extend this council until 2025.
In September 2021, the Tennessee Department of Health became a recipient of a CDC Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Program Award to continue its work on Alzheimer’s disease.
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.
|Tennessee Department of Health
||As part of their Healthy Brain Toolkit, the Tennessee Department of Health ran ads and PSAs about cognitive health and ways the public can reduce their risk of cognitive decline
|Tennessee Department of Health
||Educated public health professionals about cognitive health, health indicators, diagnosis, and community resources via an issue brief developed from original data analyses and conducted a live training webinar to discuss findings and implications for public health practice.