Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health crisis in Wisconsin. 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 Wisconsin.
  • 10.9% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 198,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Wisconsin.
  • 206 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $3.4 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $777 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 Wisconsin: Alzheimer’s Statistics, Cognitive Decline, Dementia Caregiving

Public health spotlight

Explore public health action against Alzheimer’s

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

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In September 2020, Wisconsin received an enhanced Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Program Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Through this grant, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is utilizing existing public health infrastructure to increase early detection and diagnosis, reduce the risk of developing dementia, prevent avoidable hospitalizations, and support dementia caregiving.

State plan overview

Wisconsin is in the process of implementing the Wisconsin State Dementia Plan: 2019–2023, its third state dementia plan. The current state plan has four areas of focus:

  1. Care provided in communities where people live.
  2. Improving how health care providers diagnose and care for people with dementia.
  3. Responding to crises involving people with dementia.
  4. Care provided in assisted living, nursing homes and other residential facilities.

A steering committee, led by the Department of Health Services, was established to ensure the state plan is implemented with the assistance of four “leadership teams” (work groups) that are responsible for assisting the Steering Committee in each of the four focus areas: care in the communities, health care, crisis response and facilities-based care.

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.
 

Wisconsin Implementation
State:
Issue:

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Introducing the Brain Health curriculum for middle and high school students.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Wisconsin Department of Health Services created county-level dementia prevalence estimates that correspond with the state's dementia care specialists positions
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Collaborated in implementation of state Alzheimer's disease plan by helping develop a caregiver road map titled Dementia Road Map: A Guide for Family and Care Partners.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Developed online training for family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia and provides a list of resources for caregivers
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Wisconsin Department of Health Services and a designated group of stakeholders, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (UWO), Center for Career Development and Employability Training (CCDET) is developing a series of free, online trainings related to dementia care for crisis responders, caregivers, healthcare providers, family and community members, and other professionals. A Spanish-language version is available.
Chippewa County Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership sets out to create a dementia-friendly community.

 
Wisconsin Resources
State:
Issue:

Workforce Education: Community Members, Students, and Other

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Building Dementia-Friendly Communities

Risk Factors + Risk Reduction

Alzheimer's Association Fact Sheet: Subjective Cognitive Decline in Wisconsin

Caregivers + BRFSS

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infographic: Caregiving in Wisconsin

BRFSS + Cognitive Decline

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

BRFSS + Caregivers

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

Care and Advance Planning

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