With an estimated 5.4 million individuals in the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease and an increasing number of people aged 65 and older, the annual number of new cases of Alzheimer’s and related dementias (ADRD) may nearly triple by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The large number of people with dementia—combined with their high use of medical and long-term care—makes it a costly condition for individuals, families, Medicare, and Medicaid. Many people with dementia live alone, which can increase their risk of malnutrition, injury, neglect, exploitation, and unmet needs. In addition, untrained caregivers struggle to manage the behavioral symptoms that are common in those with dementia.
With the population of people living with dementia rising and no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, person- and family-centered care and training is vital. Fortunately, there are effective strategies to help maintain cognitive function, reduce behavior symptoms, prevent acute care crises, and delay functional decline.
A Comprehensive Resource Center for Grant-Funded Programs Focused on Care Systems and Caregivers
Funded by the Administration on Aging/Administration for Community Living (AoA/ACL) and based at RTI International, the National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center (NADRC) provides individualized technical assistance, reports, and other resources to projects that work to improve services for people with dementia and for their caregivers. As project director, Joshua Wiener directs the Resource Center team comprised of Elizabeth Gould, Sari Shuman, Stephanie Hughes, Kate Gordon, Molly Knowles, Michael Lepore, Brieanne Lyda-McDonald, Patty Yuen, and Magda Ignaczak.
Our Resource Center provides expert technical assistance to the Administration on Aging/Administration for Community Living and to programs funded by grants under the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative—Specialized Support Services (ADI-SSS) and Alzheimer’s Disease Support Services Program (ADSSP). These programs work to establish dementia-capable care systems, provide services to special populations and training to staff serving persons living with dementia, and offer consultation and training for family caregivers.
Resources produced by NADRC cover critical topics for programs and individual care providers, including
- Dementia-capable systems
- Supportive services for people with dementia
- Supportive services for caregivers
- Evidence-based caregiver interventions
- Behavioral interventions for people with dementia
- Home- and community-based services for people with dementia
- Person-centered dementia care
- Training of health care providers and other professionals
- Data collection and reporting
- Program evaluation
- Issues related to dual-eligibles
Delivering Person-Centered Services and Resources That Promote Independence and Safety
Between 2008 and 2016, the AoA/ACL funded 134 ADSSP and ADI-SSS projects across the nation. These grants support efforts at the state and local level to expand the availability of home and community-based services for persons with dementia and their caregivers.
In addition to supporting these projects, our team at RTI International provides consultation on evaluation planning and design, data collection procedures, and data analyses, as well as open trainings via teleconference on key topics.
The Resource Center has a comprehensive library that includes issue briefs, toolkits, case studies, and reports. In addition, group listservs and a quarterly resource list help grantees communicate and access resources on a regular basis.
These resources are helping grantees and caregivers improve and expand on person-centered care for the growing population of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.