Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health crisis in Washington, D.C.. Without an effective treatment or cure, the impact of Alzheimer’s will continue to rise and the numbers in Washington, D.C. are escalating.
The most recent data show:

  • 8,900 people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in Washington, D.C..
  • 12.1% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 15,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Washington, D.C..
  • 16 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $322 million is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $126 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 Washington, D.C.: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline

Public health spotlight

Explore core areas

Find public health resources and examples that drive action across Alzheimer's-specific core areas.

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The D.C. Department of Health incorporated brain health messaging in its smoking cessation campaigns.

In January 2020, the D.C. Department of Health (DC DOH) created a new full-time position specifically to address dementia. In 2020, DC DOH will survey dementia services within the district.

In September 2020, the D.C. Department of Health, in partnership with George Washington University Institute for Brain Health and Dementia, published a report examining the prevalence of dementia and cognitive decline risk factors within the District, as well as comprehensively assessing the needs of caregivers. A companion resources and services guide was also released.

Washington, D.C. plan overview

In 2012 the District of Columbia Office on Aging (DCOA) established a workgroup of community partners and stakeholders throughout the District to develop an Alzheimer’s plan. In 2013, the District of Columbia State Plan on Alzheimer’s Disease 2014-2019 was published to mitigate the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and improve access to benefits for those affected within the District.

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.  

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District of Columbia Department of Health DC Department of Health conducted a comprehensive needs assessment of existing dementia services to identify service and workforce gaps
District of Columbia Department of Health DC Department of Health conducted a caregiver outreach campaign through radio and print media, and held a caregiver conference to increase knowledge of supports and services

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BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in D.C. (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Infographic: Cognitive Decline in D.C. (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in D.C. (2012)

BRFSS + Caregivers

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