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

  • 39,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in West Virginia.
  • 13.6% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 72,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in West Virginia.
  • 135 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $1.8 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $445 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 West Virginia: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline, Dementia Caregiving

Public health spotlight

The Commissioner of the Public Health Bureau issued a “Dear Colleague” letter to clinicians in the state, encouraging early detection and use of care planning services to help those with cognitive impairment. 

State plan overview

Explore public health action against Alzheimer’s

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

See Public Health Topics
In 2011, the West Virginia legislature directed and funded the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study the needs, challenges, and issues facing West Virginians living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families through the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 38. Three work groups spearheaded development of policy and program recommendations. The work groups included health care providers, families impacted by Alzheimer’s, public health officials, state legislators and researchers as well as representatives from local businesses, long-term care providers, state agencies and community organizations. In December 2011, the state Alzheimer’s plan, Make a Plan for Alzheimer's in West Virginia, was published.
 

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.
 
West Virginia Implementation
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West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Commissioner of Bureau for Public Health issues a "Dear Colleague" letter about the benefits of early detection and diagnosis of dementia and how provides can seek reimbursement for comprehensive care planning services for cognitive impairment — the letter was also published in the West Virginia Medical Journal titled " Alzheimer's and Other Dementias: A Community Health Issue"

 
West Virginia Resources
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Risk Factors + Risk Reduction

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Subjective Cognitive Decline in West Virginia

Caregivers + BRFSS

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in West Virginia

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Subjective Cognitive Decline in West Virginia (2019)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Subjective Cognitive Decline in West Virginia (2019)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in West Virginia (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Infographic: Cognitive Decline in West Virginia (2015)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in West Virginia (2012)
Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Cognitive Decline in West Virginia (2011)

BRFSS + Caregivers

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Dementia Caregiving in West Virginia (2015)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in West Virginia (2015)

Care and Advance Planning

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Subjective Cognitive Decline in West Virginia