Social Determinants to Respond to Alzheimer’s and Dementia

How Well Prepared are Communities for Alzheimer’s?

How well prepared are even affluent communities like Santa Barbara, much less economically disadvantaged and minority communities, for the medical, social, and economic impacts of Alzheimer’s? 

The Alzheimer’s Tidal Wave

Only 1-in-4 people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed.  2-in-3 people with Alzheimer’s are women.  89% increase in deaths due to Alzheimer’s between 2000 and 2014.  Alzheimer’s falls most cruelly on poor, minority, and vulnerable populations. In 2017 Alzheimer’s cost the United States $259 billion.  Once there is a reliable non-invasive biomarker, estimated in 2019-2020, we will likely discover Alzheimer’s involves not only elderly communities but middle-aged populations as well. The incidence of early detectable Alzheimer’s in Santa Barbara may be far greater than hitherto imagined.

How Well Prepared is Santa Barbara? 38,500 families locally are living with Alzheimer’s. It is the fastest-growing disease in the U.S. and the most expensive to care for. Santa Barbara as a community is unprepared for the coming medical, social, and economic impacts. Boosting current efforts NOW will save thousands of lives and millions of dollars. What practically can be done?

CHME Action Plan

  • Build Community-wide Awareness. Ally with the Alzheimer’s Association Central Coast and other organizations to widely publicize latest scientific advances and protocols, including early protocols for detection.
  • Support Caregivers.
    • Team up with Adventures for Caring to develop and make available twin apps on Compassion and Resilience as an antidote for caregiver burnout.
    • Empower caregivers who overcome burnout and help others with Success Points secured by blockchain technology. Success Points are financially staked by vendors and others in the community who stand to gain economically and in other ways by caregivers becoming healthier.
  • Foster Collaborative Innovation. Initiate a community-wide discovery/innovation process to explore, identify, validate, and develop non-drug interventions (exercise, music, arts, community engagement, etc) with domain experts and creative amateurs (including patients and their families) in partnership with the local health care medical providers.
  • Build Alliances of Non-Profit Organizations. Create incentives such as the use of Success Points to encourage all non-profit organizations involved directly and indirectly to find common ground in launching a community-wide response. Encourage local foundations to support collaboration rather than competition among non-profit organizations.
  • Provide a Common Platform Holding the “Center”. Encourage new sources of funding to work through the existing foundations to support the united effort.