Four exceptional programs from California, New York, North Carolina and Washington are this year's recipients of the Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards. The programs are presented with an award of $20,000 each and will will participate in a breakout session at Aging in America, the Annual Conference of the American Society on Aging in San Francisco on April 28, 2011.
The award program, organized by NCC and sponsored by The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, marks the third year of the Awards that recognize excellence in Alzheimer's care and caregiver support in three categories: Creative Expression; Diverse & Multicultural Communities; and Policy & Advocacy. The Awards program was announced in the Spring of 2008 and attracted organizations and programs from all across the US. The 2010 recipients are:
Organization: Songwriting Works Educational Foundation (Port Townsend, Washington)
Program/Project: Songwriting Works
Songwriting Works Educational Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization based in Port Townsend, WA, operates internationally providing workshops, trainings, tools, and respite activities that engage hundreds of elders, families, caregivers and music / arts professionals each year. The program's mission is to restore health and community through the power of song. In conjunction with local, regional, and national arts, aging, health and education partners, Songwriting Works seeks to ensure quality of life for older adults across the cognitive spectrum and to transform the health and well-being of society.
The organization grew out of the Songwriting Works method of musical engagement that founder and director Judith-Kate Friedman developed as California Arts Council artist-in-residence at Artworks / Institute on Aging / Mt. Zion/UCSF (1990-92) and replicated with elders across the care continuum (Marin Arts Council 1995-99, Jewish Home of San Francisco 1997-present, et al.). To date, more than 3,000 older adults and caregivers have participated, composing 300 songs. The Songwriting Works experience has been likened to musical mural painting. Elders and families join together with trained professional songwriters to collectively compose and perform their own original songs. Workshops take place at skilled nursing, assisted living, adult day and community centers. 80% of Songwriting Works' family programs serve participants who have early to late-stage Alzheimer's or other dementias.
Organization: Alzheimer's Association California Southland Chapter (Los Angeles, CA)
Program/Project: Asian Pacific Islander Dementia Care Network
The overall goal of the program is to meet the needs of an ethnically and culturally diverse population by developing and testing innovative models of service delivery for at-risk and under-served populations with Alzheimer's and related dementias. In order to fulfill this goal, the objectives include offering culturally and linguistically appropriate patient and family services to assist those affected with Alzheimer's disease; educating both the public and health care professionals through community and caregiver education and professional training; supporting research into the cause, prevention, treatment and cure for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders; and advocating improved public policy and promoting needed legislation.
The Asian Pacific Islander Dementia Care Network - L.A. (API DCN) addresses gaps in the community-based continuum of care for API's by expanding culturally and linguistically competent services for caregivers and building the capacity of community-based partner agencies in Los Angeles. The overall aim of the project is to enhance the capacity of a community-based network of health, aging and ethnic support service providers to better serve caregivers of older adults with dementia. The project seeks to address the specific needs of API caregivers in Los Angeles by building on community strengths and addressing gaps in the service continuum that have been identified through a needs assessment and community based asset mapping.
In July 2000, the API DCN first began targeting family caregivers of individuals with dementia (Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese communities in the Bay Area and Los Angeles). Four years later, the project's second cycle expanded to include Korean (L.A.) and Vietnamese (Orange County) families. The current cycle (2009), expands efforts in the Chinese and Japanese communities and begins services for Filipinos in Los Angeles. Through participating DCN agencies, caregivers receive culturally-appropriate assistance from Care Advocates, (trained bi-lingual, bi-cultural paraprofessionals), who provide support, education about the disease and how to care for the caregiver, service referrals, translation, and subsidized respite care referrals.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission "to provide optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families, through member organizations dedicated to improving quality of life." AFA currently comprises 1,400+ member organizations nationwide that provide a range of hands-on services. AFA supports individuals and families through caregiver education, crisis counseling by licensed social workers, and respite care grants. AFA also provides technical and financial assistance to local non-profit member organizations to enhance programs and services.
Recognizing that teens are impacted by the rising incidence of Alzheimer's disease, AFA Teens educates, engages and supports teens with direct, online education and interaction. Embracing teenagers' thirst for the Internet, the division's hallmark since 2003 has been its dedicated website, which at the time of this writing, was receiving between 35,000 and 45,000 hits each month. The site conveys information about the disease and caregiving tips in the peer-friendly and practical language that teens need while providing teens with several creative outlets for their thoughts and emotions. There is a moderated message board and Facebook page where teens can post observations and concerns and receive advice from AFA social workers, and teens may submit creative contributions, such as poems, essays, videos and scanned artwork, on an ongoing basis.
AFA added many of the creative enhancements in 2008, when AFA recruited a seven-member AFA Teens Advisory Board, consisting of interested high school students from across the country who provide leadership, feedback and blog entries. Also in 2008, a new network of AFA Teens chapters nationwide further fostered teen activism at the community level. Since, an increasing number of teens, individually or through chapters, have sponsored school/community events, volunteered and/or submitted blogs and creative contributions. AFA is aggressively seeking to recruit additional chapters. Partially in recognition of the financial stresses caregiving families face, but largely to provide a powerful creative outlet for teen caregivers, AFA introduced an annual $5,000 college scholarship in 2008; in 2010, more than 1,500 students competed.
Mountain Projects, Inc. is a non-profit that assists those in need to remain as independent as possible. The agency has served the residents of Haywood and Jackson Counties for 45 years with a reputation for integrity and compassion. Haywood Community Connections is a program of the Senior Services Department that brings nonprofits, government entities, businesses and community members together in collaboration, and is responsible for forming the Alzheimer & Dementia Workgroup.
The Alzheimer & Dementia Workgroup's overarching goal is to increase awareness of Alzheimer's and other dementia-related illnesses and to advocate for increased supportive services. The workgroup was formed in response to a county-wide assessment that revealed Alzheimer's or other related dementia to be an area of concern to seniors. The target population consists of those diagnosed and their caregivers. The workgroup has brought Safe Return and Project C.A.R.E. to Haywood County. They have incorporated an Alzheimer's training component in every law enforcement training series across the county.
The workgroup developed a training program for clergy, lay leaders, congregation members, and faith-based volunteers, entitled Day-by-Day. The program teaches faith-based organizations how to reach out into the community and serve those diagnosed with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.
In addition, the workgroup has served as a vehicle to initiate collaboration among various churches and nonprofits: a true systems change. The Alzheimer's & Dementia Workgroup is comprised of representatives from the Alzheimer's Association, Haywood Community Connections, Cooperative Extension, Area Agency on Aging and United Way.