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Arizona is leading the nation with cases of people living with Alzheimer's disease

Arizona has the fastest growing number of cases in the nation of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association. 

Outreach program manager Janice Greeno is with Banner Sun Health Research Institute. She says by 2025 we could have 200,000 Alzheimer’s cases.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in the U.S., it’s estimated that 6 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease. In Arizona, there are 150,000 aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s.  

Greeno says that Arizona might have the highest rate of cases because many people come to the state to retire. 

People who are living with dementia can struggle with things like memory loss, confusion, feeling anxiety or following directions. This is why most people living with dementia tend to stay at home. 

If they’re traveling and experiencing memory loss, they might forget where they’re going or lose their loved ones.

“We are working to make Arizona dementia friendly one community at a time. We are thrilled this started with the city of Tempe being one of the very first cities in all of the nation to become dementia friendly,” Greeno said.

Grenno says since the pandemic Arizona cities like Scottsdale, Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale have stepped up to become a dementia friendly community, meaning those cities aim to make it easier for people afflicted with the condition to live their lives. 

Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is offering free dementia friends sessions. Banner shares a one-hour information session of what dementia is and how it impacts people. The company hopes to address the stigma around dementia and to build empathy to those who live with the disease. 

The podcast Dementia Untangled also provides information for caregivers to learn ways to better navigate their roles with their loved one living with dementia. Each episode creates a unique environment to untangle the complex world of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. 

Ayana Hamilton is an assistant producer for KJZZ’s The Show. Hamilton graduated from Arizona State University in 2023 with a bachelor’s in journalism.