The Golisano Foundation will fund a pilot program to train providers serving older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the region on how to care for those with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
The $100,000 grant will be implemented over the next two years by two chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester and Finger Lakes and Western New York.
An estimated 400,000 New Yorkers are living with Alzheimer’s dementia. As the size of the population age 65 and older continues to increase, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s and other dementia will grow. By 2025, the number of individuals with Alzheimer’s dementia in the state is expected to increase by 15%.
Studies show the prevalence of dementia among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities appears to be about the same as in the general population. However, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia is higher among adults with Down syndrome. An estimated 30% of people with Down syndrome in their 50s have Alzheimer’s, and 60% will develop Alzheimer’s in their lifetime.
In the 17 Upstate New York counties served by the two chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association, 6,708 adults age 50 and older live with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Both chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association have a long history of conducting training for IDD agencies with a proven track record of improvement in the quality of life and care for individuals with disabilities living with dementia,” said Ann Costello, the Golisano Foundation director. “We are proud to support their efforts in developing an innovative training program in partnership with four of our most trusted developmental disabilities providers.”
Each chapter will deliver a train-the-trainer program to two IDD providers within their respective territories. The Rochester and Finger Lakes chapter will work with The Arc of Monroe and Lifetime Assistance Inc. The Western New York chapter will partner with Aspire of WNY and People Inc. The grant is intended to fund training materials, certification, evaluation and equipment.
Successful implementation of the program will enhance the ability of those with IDD and dementia to experience meaningful activities and age in place.
“With this grant award, we will build upon our past successes and partner with the developmental disabilities system to train a dementia-capable workforce. I’m confident our pilot will inspire similar efforts in other communities,” said Teresa Galbier, president/CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester and Finger Lakes chapter.
Both Rochester-based agencies already work with the Alzheimer’s Association to meet the specific are needs of IDD seniors who live with dementia. “Dementia-capable professionals will be able to provide more adequate care and allow individuals with dementia live in their familiar environment in group homes longer, without having to move to a skilled nursing facility,” said Barbara Wale, president/CEO, The Arc of Monroe.
“We support individuals with developmental disabilities throughout a variety of daily activities.
About 25 individuals in our day services program currently live with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Alzheimer’s Association professionals help our staff learn communication techniques and adopt behavioral strategies that allow us to better understand and serve our aging constituents with dementia,” said Joanna Davis, director of residential services, Lifetime Assistance Inc.