For Immediate Release: November 2, 2022

Media contacts:

Ben Truman │ Vermont Department of Health
802-316-2117 / 802-863-7281
[email protected]

Brian Guy │ Department of Disabilities, Aging & Independent Living  802-904-3403 [email protected]

State Launches Plans to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging in Vermont

BURLINGTON, VT — State health officials have released a roadmap to prepare for and reduce the risk of dementia in Vermont. The Vermont Action Plan for Alzheimer's Disease, Related Dementias, and Healthy Aging is a three-year plan focused on early detection and diagnosis of dementia, reducing risk and improving brain health, support for those providing care, and management of other conditions that can put people at higher risk.

Alzheimer’s Disease is Vermont’s fifth leading cause of death. In 2020, about 13,000 of the nearly 133,000 Vermonters aged 65 and older were estimated to have Alzheimer's Disease. Vermont’s population is aging at a higher rate than most of the country, and projections show that by 2025 the number of people in Vermont with Alzheimer’s Disease will increase 31% to 17,000.

“Memory loss is not an inevitable part of aging,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “By working with primary care settings, collecting and sharing data, and increasing awareness about brain health, we can help support healthy aging and the well-being of all Vermonters.”

The plan also addresses the impact of the disease on the more than 30,000 Vermonters who are care partners to a family member with Alzheimer's or related dementia. These Vermonters provide millions of hours of unpaid care annually, potentially at a high cost to their physical and mental well-being.

In addition to the Action Plan, Vermont has also completed its four-year State Plan on Aging, which has an increasing focus on services that can improve nutrition, social connection, access to physical activity, and more — components that also support those at risk for dementia. The Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living (DAIL) received approval for the State Plan on Aging from the Administration for Community Living, which allows Vermont to receive Older Americans Act funding to support older Vermonters in the greatest social and economic need. In addition, the Department will fund Vermont's five Area Agencies on Aging to plan, coordinate, and provide services in their respective areas. 

"I, like many Vermonters, have lost a loved one to Alzheimer's Disease — so I'm thrilled for DAIL to partner with the Health Department on this important public health priority," said DAIL Commissioner Monica White. "Additionally, strengthening our community-based systems is incredibly important for all older Vermonters, so that we can support aging family members, friends and neighbors with dignity, respect and independence."

Both plans are the culmination of months of effort by the Alzheimer's Disease and Healthy Aging Program at the Health Department, the DAIL State Unit on Aging, and numerous partners.

The plans incorporate strategies and activities aligned with the National Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map, the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease and the National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers, along with extensive feedback from local and state partners.

The main goals of these plans are:

  • Promote the health, safety, and well-being of older Vermonters.
  • Ensure trauma-informed, dementia-capable care.
  • Promote healthy aging by increasing dementia risk prevention and effective management of chronic diseases
  • Ensure that Vermont's Older Americans Act programs are inclusive of all older Vermonters.
  • Enhance public awareness and engagement​ about cognition and brain health.
  • Bolster the recognition and support of unpaid caregivers in Vermont.
  • Support all Vermonters with dementia, as well as their families​ and care partners.
  • Improve and expand data collection to ensure focus on populations at highest risk.

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