(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced on Monday a five-year state plan to help address the needs of Coloradans impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias.

“So people were eager to get to work [and] to draft a state plan that would set the direction of our work in Colorado to address the needs that they saw,” said Joanna Espinoza Robbins, Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia’s Program Manager.

The plan is broken down into four domains for the state and its community partners to work on. The actions include: Empower and Engage the Public, Develop Policies and Build Partnerships, Assure a Competent Workforce, and Monitor and Evaluate Data.

Several non-profit organizations and businesses joined in helping with the five-year plan.

“The partners that are listed in the state plan are those that helped advise the development of the state plan, but since then have folded into a coalition, and membership just keeps growing,” said Robbins.

The five-year plan also focuses on populations highly impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias.

“We held focus groups with the different populations and we were able to hear them as well,” said Yoli Casas, Executive Director of VIVE Wellness. “So it’s an empowering thing and I believe it’s going to make an impact.”

Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado shared 10 signs to look out for to detect Alzheimer’s early on:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Difficulty in completing tasks
  • Trouble understanding visual images and distances
  • Challenges in solving problems
  • Misplacing things
  • Problems with speaking or writing
  • Changes in mood
  • Distance from social activities
  • Decreased judgment

Jim Herily, Vice President of Communications for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado, said Alzheimer’s is “really unique in every individual that it touches because there are so many different variations.”

With the holiday season approaching, Herily said it is very common for the helpline at the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado to be a commonly used resource.

“The Alzheimer’s Association has a number of free resources. And I want to emphasize that these are all free, that families can call at any point,” said Herily. “We have the helpline that’s available 24/7. It’s bilingual with translation services and up to 200 languages.”

If you are interested in getting involved with the five-year plan, contact information is available online.

Robbins said the five-year plan can help bring greater awareness to Alzheimer’s and make Coloradans aware of the resources available to them.

“I think one message that I would want to send is that it’s never too early or too late to address our risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia, and it is really important to talk about it,” said Robbins.