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Taking the High Road to Beat Alzheimer's

Carrie Steckl, Ph.D.

When I write about Alzheimer's, it's usually about the ravages of the condition or the physical and emotional toll it takes on caregivers. It's not often that I have something uplifting to write about when it comes to this very difficult disease.

high road ahead signYet, today I have good news. Earlier this year, the Alzheimer's Association and the Centers for Disease Control released a join report, The Healthy Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013-2018.

What's so great about this report? It focuses on the future and is infused with hope because it provides 35 - yes, 35 - clear action items that local, state, and national agencies can take to address the public health problem that Alzheimer's has become.

The report will help public organizations do three things:

  • Promote cognitive functioning
  • Address cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease
  • Help meet the needs of caregivers

By developing this report, the Alzheimer's Association and the Centers for Disease Control have taken the high road to beat Alzheimer's. What I mean is that they did not just compile a report in technical language that nobody will read. Instead, they wrote it in such a way that it's actually accessible (and encouraging) to the people who need to read it. The report groups the action items into four focused categories:

  • Monitor and Evaluate
  • Educate and Empower the Nation
  • Develop Policy and Mobilize Partnerships
  • Assure a Competent Workforce

I've picked out some of my favorite action items and summarized them here:

  • Identify the needs of caregivers and individuals with Alzheimer's in the context of the workplace. (Monitor and Evaluate)
  • Provide resources to families so they can complete legal and financial planning earlier rather than later and can include the person with Alzheimer's in the planning as much as possible. (Educate and Empower the Nation)
  • Make sure cognitive health and impairment are considered when budgeting and planning for local, state, and national programs in aging, disease management, and transportation. (Develop Policy and Mobilize Partnerships)
  • Increase awareness throughout the healthcare profession about the importance of caregiver health and wellbeing. (Assure a Competent Workforce)

I encourage you to read the rest of the report by clicking on the link below. This is one of the clearest reports I've seen that outlines manageable steps toward addressing one of our fastest growing public health challenges. If you read it, come back and let me know what you think!


Alzheimer's Association & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). The healthy brain initiative: The public health road map for state and national partnerships, 2013-2018.