Drowning in Dementia in Alabama
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 304,000 people in Alabama are family caregivers for 92,000 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This number only includes people who are 65 years old or older. It does not capture the 13% of people aged 45 or older who have some type of cognitive impairment, such as frontotemporal dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. These family caregivers provide $24 billion dollars worth of care, logging in over 345 million hours of care.
Introducing the “PANDA” Project
Last fall, the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A) received a 3-year grant from the Administration for Community Living: “Providing Alzheimer’s ‘n Dementia Assistance,” or PANDA. The PANDA project will provide resources to enhance direct services to people living with dementia, people living with intellectural developmental disabilities, and caregivers in Shelby County, Alabama.
This project involves a variety of stakeholders from universities, private companies, faith communities, and first responders. Initiatives include a statewide expansion of M4A’s Dementia Friendly First Responder Training Program, two new local caregiver respite programs, Healthy Brain Education Workshops, the implementation of a City of Pelham Community Paramedic Program, and dementia education and marketing campaigns.
The PANDA project will also support direct services beginning April, 2020. These direct services include home visits and telephone calls, legal help, nutritional counseling, homemaker and respite services, transportation, remote safety technologies, home modifications, medication management, and one-on-one caregiver assistance and training.
For More Information…
Jennifer Fuller is the PANDA project program coordinator. You can email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call her at 205-670-5770. This is an exciting project…and I am proud to be one of the individuals assisting with the training programs!
Dr. Rita Jablonski
Rita Jablonski, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, FGSA is a nurse practitioner, researcher, tenured professor, and former family caregiver. Her research and practice involve all aspects of dementia management; she is best known for non-drug strategies to address dementia-related behaviors.