Torrington Rotary Club Dementia Friendly Community Program
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's can create extreme physical and emotional distress for a caregiver. Caregivers are often placed in a situation where they are faced with critical choices in maintaining their careers and their immediate families and so they can take on this important role of a loved one. In so many instances, they make choices that put aside their social life and put their own health in jeopardy to be able to provide care for their loved one with the disease. Support and training for caregivers is beneficial, but even the most adept caregiver can't go it alone.
The Alzheimer's Association* reports that more than one-third of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers experience symptoms of depression, and more than half of caregivers report declining health since they've placed the care of their loved ones and neglected their own health. Consequently, many chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes occur at nearly twice the rate among family caregivers.
The Torrington Rotary Club Satellite Group has teamed up with a local home health provider to begin developing a skilled care program to help these families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's/dementia. The Torrington Rotary Club is seeking a grant that would provide funding to families in the community for in-home care by professional caregivers who are experienced and trained to care for individuals with Alzheimer's/dementia. The services would be provided free of charge on a voucher system that would be established through grant funds. The granted hours allow family caregivers to have a much needed break. It's an opportunity to get to their personal doctor appointments, connect with friends, or just enjoy some time to themselves all while having the peace of mind that their loved one is receiving individualized care from a skilled provider. This portion of the Dementia Friendly Community Program would look to provide 150 hours of caregiver assistance over a 12 month period. The cost per hour is through the special partnership that has been arranged by Torrington Rotary Club with local trained providers is $20 per hour. It is estimated that vouchers will average 2 hours of care for a total possibility of approximately 75 caregivers benefitting from this service in 12 months.
The grant funds would be used to provide administrative costs for the necessary oversight of a voucher program, local program advertisements in print, radio and social media and an established number of paid hours of skilled care for families seeking respite and assistance over a 1 year time period to allow for utilization of the newly established voucher system and develop ongoing community support to generate additional donations to secure sustainability. The administrative oversight is estimated at $500 over a 12 month period.
Another facet of the Dementia Friendly Community project is to partner with the local school district to provide education to youth (middle school and high school age) about Alzheimer's and Dementia and develop a group that participates with and supports patients with Alzheimer's and Dementia. The youth program would be called YES - Youth Engaging Seniors. This would be an inter-generational community program where local youth would not only be educated on Alzheimer's and Dementia and how to identify with patients suffering from this diagnosis, but would also be provided the opportunity to put their skills into practice by having set times to spend with patients assisting them with the use of technology and other modern equipment so that patients have the ability to communicate with their loved ones through modern means. Fund would be provided to the school district for curriculum materials and provision of educational services and YES program oversight. Support would be provided at $3,000 per year for a 12 month period.
As you can see, the primary focus is of the Dementia Friendly Community program is to educate on a multitude of levels that expands across generations within the community to assure sustainability and provide a lasting impact that will continue to develop and benefit the community for years to come. The culmination of these programs all targeted toward support of Alzheimer's and Dementia patients will no doubt make a difference.
Alzheimer's/Dementia Voucher Program and oversight: $3,500
YES (Youth Engaging Seniors) Program: $3,000
Advertising/Promotions - $1,500
Funds - Club contribution $4,000
Local District Grant $4,000
Total project budget: $8,000