2023 Alzheimer’s ‘Facts and Figures’ report released March 15

Pamela J. Myers, MAOM, BSN, RN

        The Alzheimer’s Association 2023 “Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures” report finds a shortage looming for health care specialists and direct dementia care workers in Ohio and across the country. The shortage of dementia care specialists could soon become a crisis for Alzheimer’s disease care.
        According to the Ohio Department of Aging, Ohio has 2.5 million residents over the age of 60, and our 60-plus population is growing more than 20 times faster than our overall population. As the older population expands, so too will the numbers of those living with dementia. Unfortunately, there are not currently enough trained dementia specialists and direct care workers to support those living with Alzheimer’s, and we must address this issue now to be in a position to support the increased numbers of families who will need dementia care.
        According to the 2023 “Facts and Figures Report,” direct care workers – including nurse aides, nursing assistants, home health aides and personal care aides – play a vital role in caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia in private homes, community-based settings like adult day services, and residential care and skilled nursing homes. More new direct care workers are needed now than in any other single occupation in the United States.
        In addition, the immediate need for specialists, such as geriatricians and neurologists that are necessary to care for
the aging Ohio population, remains a major challenge. An estimated 250,000 individuals in Ohio are projected to have Alzheimer’s by 2025. In Ohio, there were only 163 geriatricians in 2021 and by 2050 that number will need to increase to 537 (229.4%) to meet the care demands of 10 percent of the projected number of Ohioans age 65 and older with the disease.
        The annual “Facts and Figures” report also provides an in-depth look at the latest national and state-by-state statistics on Alzheimer’s disease prevalence, mortality, caregiving, dementia care workforce and costs of care. According to the report, there are 6.7 million people 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States, including 220,000 in Ohio.
        An accompanying special report, “The Patient Journey in an Era of New Treatments,” offers new insights from patients and primary care physicians (PCPs) on current barriers that impede earlier discussion of cognitive concerns. Focus groups reveal many people with subjective cognitive decline (self-reported memory concerns) do not discuss cognitive symptoms with their health care providers. Previous special reports have indicated many people believe their experiences are related to normal aging, rather than a potential diagnosable medical condition. In addition to reluctance from individuals, the report revealed PCPs also are not proactively asking their patients about cognitive issues. PCPs hesitate to initiate conversations about cognitive decline and will wait until family members bring it to their attention.
        This special report is timely and reflects the need for a dedicated statewide public awareness campaign in Ohio that will empower individuals and primary care physicians to better identify and address cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Ohio Department of Aging ODA) to create and administer outreach programs aimed to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia (ADOD) to healthcare professionals and Ohio residents. We will need to educate the general public about Alzheimer’s and other dementia and work to develop a well-trained workforce to support the people living with the disease.
        Full text of the 2023 “Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures” report, including the accompanying special report, “The Patient Journey in an Era of New Treatments” can be viewed at alz.org/facts.
        Pamela J. Myers is Program Director for Alzheimer's Association Northwest and Central Ohio Chapters.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association