Alzheimer’s Caregiving Awards: 2019 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 2019 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 areas:Creative Expression, and Diverse/Multicultural Communities. Visit the Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Awards general information page to learn more. Read the Janurary 6, 2020, press release here.

The following award recipients will be honored—and their programs presented—at the 2019 Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Awards Reception on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., during the 2020 Aging in America Conferece in Atlanta, Georgia.


ORGANIZATION: Giving Voice Initiative

Minneapolis, MN

Giving Voice Initiative (GVI), created in 2015, is a leader in the worldwide movement to help people with Alzheimer’s disease and their partners to live better lives, and to strengthen connection to their community by singing together.  This model music chorus program uses a well- honed learning paradigm that includes accessible well adapted music, uniquely trained music leaders, built-in social time, all culminating in celebratory concert performances for the community.  Their foundational belief is that creating music together is a gateway to demonstrating how to live well with dementia.  Today over 200 members, most 65+ yrs, sing in three flagship choruses in Minnesota. GVI has inspired over 40 choruses across the US, Canada and Australia.  

Key accomplishments include demonstrating that people living with dementia are capable of new learning.  In 2018, a collaboration with the American Composers Forum created the opportunity to tell the singer’s own stories of struggle, resilience and gratitude. Nine original songs were performed by 170 singers at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (St. Paul, MN) before 1,000 people. The Love Never Forgets concert was a significant achievement in defying stigma and acknowledging creative expression.

GVI engages community partners for quantitative and qualitative research to document the powerful connection between neurochemistry and the psycho-social benefits of singing, for both persons with dementia and care partners.  Their program model, rooted in replication, offers a free online toolkit, including detailed assistance in planning and operating choruses for use in a variety of different communities, webinars and on-line learning, and an annual 2-day national convening of chorus programs to help foster collective learning, share best practices, and build a collaborative network to help bring these program to communities far and wide! 

ORGANIZATION: Sweet Readers, Inc

New York, NY

Founded in 2011, Sweet Readers pairs middle school students with adults living with dementia and their care partners. In an intimate group setting, through creative human engagement, they make life-affirming connections. The program serves close to 300 adults annually. Led by a trained facilitator (often a school or art educator), each program is comprised of 5-9 weekly, one-hour sessions. Sessions are held in school classrooms, museums and/or eldercare centers. Together, participants explore and create art, music, poetry and/or movement, using themes such as identity, home, love, community, and adventure. In the process, they discover each other and make lasting bonds. 

Year-over-year evaluation shows a consistent impact on young participants with over 90% expressing how the program has taught them to “see the person behind the disease,” empowered them to feel more confident to interact with people living with dementia and better educated them about Alzheimer’s disease, care needs, and overall brain health. Care Partners express that they see their loved one through a “new lens” and all adult participants express the joy they experience by joining in the program activities. 

Sweet Readers has collaborated with dozens of community partners including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, The New York Historical Society, The Nightingale-Bamford School, Ramaz School, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and also a growing community of Geriatric Care Managers. 


ORGANIZATION: Centro Tyrone Guzman

Minneapolis, MN

Centro Tyrone Guzman is the oldest and largest Minneapolis-based multi-service Latine organization. Their program, Centro Wise Elders, actively engages community members in sustaining an informed, safe, and respectful environment to support the health and well-being of Spanish speaking individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and their families. The program serves Spanish-speaking Latine families in Minnesota, targeting low-income immigrant families. Since 2015, they have provided Alzheimer’s-related support and resources to more than 1,600 caregivers, elders, and community members.


A key initiative, conducted over the course of the past two years with the support of Latine elders and their caregivers, was the creation of a culturally and linguistically appropriate Toolkit based on the “House of Memories” museum dementia awareness-training program. Wise Elders staff, using this new Toolkit, guide Latine elders and their caregivers through the process of identifying objects of importance from the elders’ past and using these objects to initiate conversations, strengthen family connections, and contribute to the self-esteem and well-being of the person with Alzheimer’s and experiencing memory loss.

Centro Wise Elders staff has pioneered the adaptation of evidence-based model programs and resources for use in the Latine community including: “House of Memories” dementia awareness training; Montessori-inspired tools and strategies; and Respite Education and Support Tools (REST) in Spanish. Centro partnered with Teatro del Pueblo to create an original, culturally-appropriate, Spanish-language play to provide awareness and information on the ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease; worked with the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) to engage elders in creating Alzheimer’s activity mats, and served as a cultural consultant for the Minnesota ACT on Alzheimer’s Initiative -revising the “Dementia Friends” curriculum and providing feedback to make it culturally responsive.


Monday, December 30, 2019