A predicted 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease in 2050, dramatically impacting the lives of many Vermonters and their families. In addition to the emotional and financial stress diagnosed individuals and their caregivers face, the increasing numbers pose a significant burden on the health care system.

Facts & Figures

  • Alzheimer’s is the 5th leading cause of death in Vermont.
  • One half of primary care providers reported feeling inadequately prepared to care for patients with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
  • The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated to total $277 billion in 2018, with $106 million in Medicaid spending for people with Alzheimer’s.
  • In 2019 over 3000 Vermonters 65 years and older diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease visited hospital emergency departments.

Brain Health & Dementia: Practice Care Recommendations 

As many as 40% of dementia cases can be prevented or delayed. As health professionals, you can help patients and families prevent, delay, or manage cognitive decline and dementia by initiating conversations about brain health. Here are some tips:

Rack Cards with Chronic Disease Reduction Messages

Rack cards measuring 4 in. X 9 in. are available for healthcare providers, health educators, and public health professionals. Messages on the cards have chronic disease risk reduction messages that promote brain health. 

Protect Your Head

Healthy Aging

Healthy Body

Healthy Diet

Healthy Hearing Healthy Brain

Healthy Sleep

Healthy Blood Pressure

Healthy Blood Sugar

To order printed copies of these cards contact Ed DeMott at [email protected].

More on Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit

Cognitive impairment screening, risk assessment and care planning are key components of the annual wellness visit. Click to learn more about the Annual Wellness Visit and how to seek reimbursement for the health benefits it provides your patients.

Brain Health & Chronic Disease

Research has confirmed two important links between brain health and chronic disease:

  • Rates of depressive disorder, obesity, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are significantly higher among Vermont adults with cognitive decline, compared to those without cognitive decline.
  • Effectively managing chronic condition improves overall health and can prevent dementia by supporting brain health.

Building a Dementia Capable Clinical Workforce

The Hub and Spoke Workgroup for screening and diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias is an interdisciplinary team that provides and promotes dementia-related trainings and resources for healthcare professionals. 

Sign Up for Free Trainings with CMEs

VT Health Learn: Dementia education for primary care providers and care teams in Vermont, accessible 24/7 and offers continuing medical education credits.

Project ECHO: Evidence based education series covering dementia care, diagnosis, and management for primary care teams.

VDH Grand Rounds: Periodic presentations on healthy aging and risk reduction, early detection and management of Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias

Alzheimer’s Association offers trainings and materials for healthcare clinicians and care providers:

Refer your patients to Vermont Department of Health FREE dementia risk reduction and chronic disease management Programs

Importance of Lifestyle Interventions

Evidence shows that Vermonters can reduce their risk of cognitive decline and dementia by making key lifestyle changes—especially middle-aged individuals, those with a chronic condition and anyone with a family history of dementia. The CDC-funded Public Health Center on Risk Reduction has resources for health care providers: Accelerate Risk Reduction | Alzheimer's Association

Talk to all adult patients about the Healthy Body, Healthy Brain connection and support them to:

  • Prevent and manage diabetes, hypertension, depression, and COPD
  • Wear seat belts and bike helmets and seek treatment immediately for falls and concussions
  • Maintain good heart health including cholesterol
  • Maintain good oral health
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet (Mediterranean, MIND, DASH)
  • Engage in regular physical activity
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol use
  • Stay cognitively and socially engaged

Vermont has several evidence-based, free programs to help patients lead healthier lives:

  • 802Quits.org: Personalized quit tobacco coaching, tools, and resources, including free nicotine replacement therapy and support for people who vape.
  • MyHealthyVT.org: Free, online healthy lifestyle workshops created by the CDC and led by local health coaches. Workshops are available on a variety of topics and conditions, including prediabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, tobacco use, and chronic disease and chronic pain management.
  • You First: A free program for women—and anyone with breasts or a cervix— that covers the cost of mammograms, pap tests, and heart disease screenings. Members aged 30-64 are also eligible for gym memberships, state park passes, fruits and veggie coupons, and more! All members must meet certain income requirements.

Request Patient Educational Materials: For materials on Brain Health & Dementia or other VDH programs, contact Ed DeMott, Program Manager at [email protected].

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