Alzheimer’s Caregiving Awards: 2018 Recipients

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The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Helen Daniels Bader Fund, a Bader Philanthropy, and Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), in partnership, are pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Awards.

Each organization is awarded $20,000 for their program that addresses the needs Alzheimer’s disease caregivers in the following three areas: Creative Expression, Diverse/Multicultural Communities, and Public Policy. Visit the Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Awards’ general information page at to learn more. Read the January 24, 2019, press release here.

The following award recipients will be honored—and their programs presented—at the 2018 Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Awards Reception on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., during the 2019 Aging in America Conference in New Orleans.



ORGANIZATION: Charlotte Symphony Orchestra

Charlotte, North Carolina

PROGRAM: Healing Hands

For nearly 20 years, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has reached out beyond the traditional music main stage, to bring professional musicians to individuals living with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s and dementia. In the last two years they have strengthened their efforts to focus more fully on reaching underserved communities.

Ever evolving, the CSO has incorporated the latest research and has served as a study subject for the Charlotte-based Queens University study (Music Therapy program), tailoring their concerts and interactive intentional music selections to positively affect mood, interpersonal relationships, and even some demonstrated improvement in cognitive functioning for both the individual living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Last year the CSO presented 24 Healing Hands programs and plans for at least 22 programs this year. Healing Hands is the only program in North Carolina to bring the level of full string orchestra performances to seniors living with dementia, and particularly to those with lifelong limited access to main stage performances due to economic, ethnic or cultural barriers.



ORGANIZATION: Down Syndrome Network, Inc.​

Tempe, Arizona

PROGRAM: Aging Matters: Growing Older with Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Network of Arizona’s Aging Matters: Growing Older with Down Syndrome program is leading the provision of person-centered, dementia capable care for adults with Down syndrome and their families. Monthly programs focus on exercise, nutrition, self-expression in art and music, meaningful peer relationships, research and caregiver education. There are 250 regularly attending program participants. Since establishment in 2016, there has been 50% annual participation growth. The program is aided by volunteers who provide 300 hours/year of physical and safety supports, as well as encouragement.

This is the first generation of individuals with Down Syndrome who are living long enough to acquire Alzheimer’s. Adults with Down syndrome experience accelerated aging and may begin experiencing geriatric complications 20 years earlier than their typical peers. Life slows down in their 30s and 40s. By age 60, 56% of adults with Down syndrome are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and 80% will experience some type of dementia. But when the adult is placed with typical aging peers for support, they do not feel like they belong since they don’t see a reflection of themselves.

Because of childhood medical advances, the life expectancy for those with Down syndrome has nearly doubled in the past quarter century, from about 25 years in 1983 to 60 years today. For the first time, adults with Down syndrome are outliving their caregivers. Aging Matters empowers individuals and families to prepare for the unique challenges associated with growing older with Down syndrome and supports them every step of the way.



ORGANIZATION: Mental Health America of the MidSouth

Nashville, Tennessee

PROGRAM: Tennessee Coalition for Better Aging

Eighteen (18) independent not-for profit organizations agreed to work together, unifying their voice and sharing common language to promote public policy that benefits older adults and family caregivers in Tennessee. They were ultimately successful in increasing access to services (permit religious organizations-churches, synagogues, etc.) to offer limited respite services without licensure for adult daycare, expand systemic protection for elder and vulnerable adult victims of abuse and neglect, and retain access to affordable health insurance. It is estimated that more than 110,000 people 65 or older are affected by Alzheimer’s in Tennessee. In the next decade, that number is expected to increase by up to 44 percent.

The coalition is currently working with Tennessee’s Area Agencies on Aging and the Tennessee Commission on Aging to develop financial resources to benefit elder community members and their caregivers. The membership include: Tennessee Respite Coalition, Tennessee Justice Center, Mental Health America of the Midsouth, Fifty Forward, Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, League of Women Voters of Tennessee, AARP, UT College of Social Work, Tennessee Disability Coalition, Tennessee Chapter of NASW, Council on Aging of Middle TN, West End Home Foundation, Alzheimer's Tennessee, Greater Nashville Regional Council, Tennessee Association of Adult Day Services and the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare.

This broad based group chose to put their differences aside to fight for older Tennesseans, an excellent role model for other states facing similar challenges to gaining critical support for resident elders and family caregivers. Now after two years their work together continues with equal energy towards improved policy.