Statewide  Coalition Issues Roadmap to Make Michigan ‘Dementia Capable’

Download the Dementia Capable Roadmap HERE

New recommendations released May 15 at State Capitol as part of Older Michiganians Day
Lansing, MI – May 15, 2019 – The impact of dementia is growing in Michigan, but there are steps that individuals, families, the state and local communities can take to increase quality of life for people living with dementia, address rising costs and improve service delivery, according to a new report from the Michigan Dementia Coalition.

The Coalition, which consists of over 120 individuals from dementia-related fields and backgrounds, representing more than 65 organizations, will release its 2019-2022 Roadmap for Creating a Dementia Capable Michigan on May 15 during Older Michiganians Day at the State Capitol.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, an estimated 190,000 Michiganders age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, a number that is expected to rise to 220,000 by 2025. More than 517,000 individuals provide unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, providing an estimated 589 million hours of unpaid care.

 “Dementia impacts individuals and families of all backgrounds and knows no political boundaries.  Two-thirds of adults personally know someone who has had Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or another condition causing cognitive decline,” said Lisa Dedden Cooper, Manager of Advocacy for AARP Michigan and co-chair of the Michigan Dementia Coalition.

The financial impact of dementia is also staggering. On average, Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older with dementia paid nearly $11,000 out of pocket annually for health care and long-term care services. From the time of diagnosis, the total lifetime cost of care for a person with 

dementia was $321,780 in 2015, the most current data available. In Michigan, the estimated cost 
to Medicaid alone for people age 65 and older with dementia is expected to reach $1.42 billion in 2019, and that number is projected to increase to $1.72 billion by 2025. 
“Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the United States,” said Jennifer Lepard, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Michigan Chapter and co-chair of the Michigan Dementia Coalition. “Given the enormous burden Alzheimer’s has on individuals living with the disease, their families and the country as a whole — it must remain a public health priority for Michigan and for our nation.”

According to a 2018 AARP Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Awareness Poll, 92% of adults age 18 and older believe Alzheimer’s disease/dementia is a serious problem in our country today. Additionally, a 2017 survey conducted by the Michigan Dementia Coalition among Michigan residents found that Michiganders are desperate for more affordable services (73.3%), and information about the types of services available and how to use them (65.5%). 

“There are many excellent resources that currently exist in Michigan for people living with dementia and their family caregivers, but families don’t always know how to find them, or may not even know to ask,” said Ryan Cowmeadow, Executive Director of Area Agency on Aging Association of Michigan. “We want to help connect people with the resources they need, and to plan for future demand for their service needs.”

To address the growing human and financial impact of Alzheimer’s disease in Michigan, the Michigan Dementia Coalition has put together a roadmap outlining goals and strategies to make Michigan more dementia capable. These strategies are centered on promoting the well-being and safety of people living with dementia at all ages and stages, mobilizing multidisciplinary partnerships to strengthen the service network, recognizing and promoting dementia as a public health priority, and enacting policies that strengthen families, communities and the economy. 

The Roadmap also describes current research being done in Michigan to find ways to stop or slow the progression of dementia and improve quality of life for people living with it.
“The dementia research community in the state of Michigan is a diverse, multidisciplinary group consisting of basic scientists, clinical investigators, social and behavioral researchers, and other academic and service professionals,” said Scott Roberts, Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, co-chair of the Michigan Dementia Coalition and a core investigator within the federally funded Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

“Together we are working across numerous institutions and settings to better understand what happens in the brain to cause dementia, identify biomarker tests for early disease identification, test new therapies via clinical trials, develop interventions to educate and support patients and family members, and much more.”

To learn more about the work of the Michigan Dementia Coalition, including the 2019-2022 Roadmap for Creating a Dementia Capable Michigan, visit

Mark Hornbeck
AARP Michigan
(517) 267-8935

Samantha West
Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter
(734) 418-6025