New California Campaign Aims to Improve Alzheimer’s Disease Care, Prevention and Detection

New California Campaign Aims to Improve Alzheimer’s Disease Care, Prevention and Detection

WRITTEN BY EDWARD HENDERSON | CALIFORNIA BLACK MEDIA

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched the Take on Alzheimer’s campaign in late February.

The awareness campaign is aimed toward educating all Californians about brain health, the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, and ways to improve communication between patients’ loved ones and health care providers.

Over the next 20 years, the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dimensions (AD/ADRDs) on the State of California will increase dramatically, according to the CDPH. Longer life expectancies and the aging of the baby boomer generation will lead to an increase in the number and percentage of Californians who will be 65 years of age and older. Since the primary risk factor for AD/ADRDs is older age, a significant increase is anticipated in the numbers of people who will be living with the disease.

“It’s critical to build dementia expertise into programs and services supporting our state’s increasingly diverse older adult population, including family caregivers and our workforce,” said Susan DeMarois, Director of the California Department of Aging in a press release.

“Widespread prevention, screening and detection will enable more families to make important social, medical, financial, and personal decisions and we want our aging network to be well equipped to meet their needs.”

In 2019, approximately 660,000 Californians over 65 years of age lived with AD/ADRDs, which accounted for roughly 11% of the disease’s prevalence across the United States (5.8 million people).

Between 2019 and 2040 a doubling in the number of Californians living with AD/ADRDs is expected. This increase will affect all regions of the state across various demographic groups.

Women are especially impacted by the disease, making up nearly two-thirds of diagnosed Americans. Other groups disproportionately impacted include older Black Americans, who are twice as likely to develop the disease. In the next 20 years, the number of people living with AD/ADRDs is projected to triple, growing to 91,071 people.

Latinos are one-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than White older adults.

Additional CDPH estimates indicate that between 2019 and 2040:

California’s population will grow by 16%, while the population of people living with AD/ADRDs will expand by 127%;

  • The number of Californians over 75 years of age living with AD/ADRDs will more than double, growing to over 1.3 million.
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  • The number of Californians between 55 and 74 years of age living with AD/ADRDs will increase 26%, growing to 194,975 people.
  • The number of people living with AD/ADRDs in California’s fifteen most populous counties (those with a population of 700,000 or more) will at least double.
  • The number of Californians living with AD/ADRDs will increase by 11% for women, growing to 917,482 people; and increase by 8% for men, growing to 609,197 people.
  • The number of people living with AD/ADRDs more than double for Californians who identify as Asian American/Pacific Islander, growing to 241,106 people.

The Take on Alzheimer’s Campaign aims to reach these disproportionally impacted communities through multilingual and multicultural advertising, partnerships with community-based organizations and engaging trusted ethnic media journalists. The campaign also plans to educate these communities about brain health, the signs of aging, and ADRD symptoms to make a positive impact on them and their loved ones by promoting brain health and benefiting from early detection and diagnosis.

“This campaign will empower our diverse communities to support brain health, better understand and the difference between signs of aging and symptoms of dementia and encourage individuals to have important conversations with their loved ones and health care providers,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón in a release.

The campaign also believes starting honest and empathetic conversations with friends, loved ones or a healthcare provider can be critical to improving outcomes and combating fear and stigma associated with AD/ADRDs.

Based on population-level evidence, the sex health conditions and behaviors that increase risk for cognitive decline and AD are midlife hypertension (age 45-64), physical inactivity, midlife obesity (age 45-64), diabetes, smoking (age 45 and older) and poor sleep (less than six hours a night).

Visit TakeonALZ.com to learn ways people can help reduce their risk and take charge of their brain health before or after an AD/ADRD diagnosis.

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