Wolf Administration provides latest Alzheimer’s statistics for Pennsylvania

Local News
William Burke

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

HARRISBURG — November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and the commonwealth is working on a plan to combat the disease.

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging hosted the 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD) Forum, which attracted more than 200 stakeholders to participate virtually.

This annual forum provides education and assesses the progress and discusses opportunities to help advance Pennsylvania’s State Plan on ADRD.

This year’s forum focused on educating physicians and consumers in early detection, diagnosis and treatment. Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Aging Robert Torres both said knowledge of the disease is the only way to fight it. 

“There are common misconceptions about Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders such as that memory issues and other behavioral changes are just a natural part of aging,” Secretary Torres said. “There is also stigma attached to a diagnosis of ADRD that may make some individuals reluctant to discuss issues they may be experiencing with their physicians. Breaking down these barriers and engaging in open discussions with physicians is an important step to early detection and diagnosis of ADRD.”

Secretary Torres also noted that in Pennsylvania, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report:

  • There were 4,150 deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2019.
  • There were an estimated 280,000 people aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s in 2020 and this number is expected to increase to 320,000 by 2025.
  • Nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year in Pennsylvania has Alzheimer’s or some other dementia.

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