The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation and Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy 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 Policy and Advocacy.
The following award recipients will be honored, and their programs presented, at a reception on Wednesday, March 22, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., during the 2017 Aging in America Conference (March 20–24, 2017) in Chicago.
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Scripps Gerontology Center
Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an intergenerational art-making program designed for people with dementia. It was founded in 2007 at Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University, an Ohio Center of Excellence in Cultural and Societal Transformation. OMA has become a central expression of the Scripps commitment to this transformation in aging policy and practices.
OMA is a bridge-building program that partners students, families, caregivers and volunteers with people who have dementia to provide them with innovative opportunities for artistic expression. OMA has developed over 100 visual art projects that enable people living with dementia to successfully generate artwork. The resulting artwork is comparable to modern art created by master artists. At conferences, OMA often shows its artwork next to images by master artists and asks the audience to guess which piece was created by an OMA participant. The audience usually has difficulty deciding.
OMA has been replicated at over 50 retirement communities throughout the US and Canada. At Miami University, OMA’s home base, over 1,000 students have gone through the program. OMA recently received a grant from the state of Ohio to replicate the program in 100 additional retirement communities.
OMA has a strong research record with multiple academic publications, generates beautiful artwork, and has developed all the tools for successful replication. It provides an opportunity for volunteers, families and caregivers to engage around the strengths of the person with dementia.
Diverse / Multicultural Communities
Pueblo of Zuni — Zuni Elderly Services
Zuni Adult Day Care and respite program services have created an oasis where elders with dementia and their family caregivers thrive. Prior to the Center’s establishment in 2007, elders on the reservation living with dementia and other critical care needs had to leave the reservation for nursing home care. Almost universally, the elders would be deceased within a week or two. The richness of being Native American, speaking a language unique to their people, living with deep traditions and customs also conspired to make off-reservation care difficult to provide.
Zuni tribal members began looking for better ways to help their elders age in place, while also supporting the elders’ family members. Zuni Pueblo is located in a rural, remote area on the Zuni Indian Reservation, far from mainstream America and residents are mostly low income. Tribal members had not only to work diligently, but also seek out creative ways to find a sustainable path to build a dementia care program that could succeed.
There is no word for Alzheimer's disease in the Zuni language and little was known about the illness. Members learned all they could about dementia, sought state and federal resources and other tribal programs—including non-Zuni tribes—to secure funding and worked to establish a model program that would be acceptable to tribal members and tribal elders living with dementia.
Today, the Adult Day Care program gives family caregivers respite to take care of themselves and their needs, including the very high percentage of tribal members living with diabetes. Ongoing caregiver training is provided through the Ashiwi Support Group including reaching out to the greater New Mexico community to build knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and dealing with challenging dementia care behaviors, all with cultural humility.
Policy and Advocacy
Alzheimer's Greater Los Angeles
The Dementia Cal MediConnect Project is making critical progress towards improving the quality of care delivered to people with dementia and their family caregivers in California’s “duals” (Medicare/MediCal) demonstration project. Since inception in 2013—and in collaboration with the California Department of Aging (CDA), Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles (ALZGLA), the Alzheimer’s Association in Northern California, Alzheimer’s San Diego, and ten health plans in six California counties—the project works to improve access to quality healthcare and supports for poor and ethnically diverse people with dementia. This is done by:
- advocating with and providing technical assistance to health plans;
- training their care managers;
- providing support and disease education to patients and their caregivers.
An evaluation by University of California San Francisco (UCSF) found staff reported significant improvements in dementia-capable care coordination practices, including identifying and supporting the caregiver.
As of fall 2016 almost 300 care managers and over 500 family caregivers had received disease education or support. Over 40 Dementia Care Specialists are in place at eight of the participating health plans. In response to dedicated, collaborative advocacy, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated action to issue a critically important CMS Informational Bulletin focusing on the quality and business case for health plans and states to create improved systems of care for people with dementia, especially within the Duals Pilot. The State of California will receive the Bulletin, followed by Texas, and then other states where advocacy is underway to improve dementia care based on the promising practices begun in the Dementia Cal MediConnect Project.