Tuesday, 18 June 2024

California launches new campaign to take on Alzheimer’s

The California Department of Public Health has launched the Take on Alzheimer’s campaign, an education and awareness campaign aimed toward all Californians to promote healthy brains, knowledge about the difference between aging and dementia, and improve conversations with loved ones and health care providers.

“With more people living longer lives, the number of Californians living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias is projected to double over the next 20 years, even as the percent of older adults with dementia declines,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón. “This campaign will empower our diverse communities to support brain health, better understand 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."

Many Californians avoid seeking help for Alzheimer’s due to unawareness, fear, and stigma.

Take On Alzheimer’s will counter hesitation and delays by increasing education and encouraging conversations across all communities. It educates diverse communities about signs, risk factors, and ways to promote brain health.

The primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age, and California is home to more adults aged 65 and older than any other state.

While the majority of older adults will never experience dementia, 11% of the nation’s Alzheimer’s cases reside in California and that number is projected to double between 2019 and 2040, highlighting the need for awareness, education, and preparation.

Declining rates of dementia, and emerging treatments, provide hope.

“California’s Master Plan for Aging has included ‘Dementia in Focus’ as part of Goal Two: Health Reimagined since its launch in 2021. 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. “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.”

Women are especially impacted by the disease, making up nearly two-thirds of diagnosed Americans.

Other disproportionately impacted groups include older Black Americans, who are two times more likely to develop the disease, and Latinos, who are one-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than white older adults.

California is one of the most diverse states in the nation, with six counties ranking in the top 20 most racially and ethnically diverse counties in the nation, further emphasizing the need for continued ADRD prevention efforts.

The Take on Alzheimer’s campaign will:

Reach diverse communities like those mentioned above through multilingual and multicultural advertising, partnerships with community-based organizations and engaging trusted ethnic media journalists.

Educate these communities about brain health, the signs of aging, and the symptoms of ADRD to be able to make a positive difference for them and their loved ones when it comes to fostering brain health and benefiting from early detection and diagnosis.

Start a conversation. 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 Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, or ADRD.

Steer the community to learn more at TakeonALZ.com to understand ways they can help reduce their risk and take charge of their brain health before or after an ADRD diagnosis.

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