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Golisano Foundation awards Alzheimer’s Association grant for dementia training

Jun 23, 2019 | In the News

The Golisano Foundation will fund a pilot program to train providers serving older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in our region on how to care for those with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The grant in the amount of $100,000 will be implemented over the next two years by two chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association: Western New York and Rochester & Finger Lakes.

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 dementias will grow. By 2025, the number of individuals with Alzheimer’s dementia in our state is expected to increase by 15 percent. Studies show that 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 percent of people with Down syndrome in their 50s have Alzheimer’s and 60 percent 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 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.”

Across the great Buffalo-Niagara Region, the Association’s local Chapter will partner with People Inc. and Aspire of WNY. Jill Horner is the Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association WNY Chapter. “We’re grateful the Golisano Foundation recognizes the need for this important pilot program and our partnership with People Inc. and Aspire,” said Horner. “The Chapter looks forward to working with these respected agencies in meeting our mutual needs for services among the IDD population across the region.” 

The pilot program will expand the knowledge of IDD agency staff about dementia and specific care needs of IDD seniors who live with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. A successful implementation will enhance the ability of those with IDD and dementia to experience meaningful activities and age in place. It will also cover costs for training materials, certification, evaluation and equipment.

Rhonda Frederick is the President and Chief Executive Officer of People Inc. “With such significant medical advances, we are seeing people  with intellectual/developmental disabilities living long, fulfilling lives – often well into their 60s, 70s and 80s,” said Frederick. “This wonderful collaborative training with the Alzheimer’s Association gives our staff the resources, skills and confidence to provide the best possible quality services for the  people we support with dementia. “

Aspire President and CEO Thomas Sy says his agency applauds the advantages of working with the Chapter. “Aspire has benefited in the past from quality staff trainings from the Alzheimer Association. With the incidence of dementia in those with IDD on the rise, coupled with our desire for person specific supports, this new partnership will ensure state of the art approaches to care and support.”

The Golisano Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the nation devoted exclusively to opening doors to opportunity, changing negative perceptions and stereotypes, and forging unprecedented partnerships to ensure individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have pathways to personal dignity, independence and the best possible expression of their abilities and talents throughout their lifetimes. With more than $40 million in gross assets, it has awarded more than $24 million in grants, about $2 million annually, to non-profit organizations in Western New York, the Finger Lakes Region and Southwest Florida.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. It is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research. The Association’s mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org/WNY or call 1-800-272-3900.

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