Christiane and Muryl Cole appreciate the 24/7 support they receive from Hospice of the Valley’s dementia care and education program.
by Lin Sue Cooney
Family caregivers often feel overwhelmed, anxious and isolated while they are caring for a person with dementia. They want to keep their loved one at home for as long as possible, but wonder how to make it all work. Thanks to a federal grant, Hospice of the Valley can now help these families at no charge.
The Administration for Community Living has awarded funds to 12 agencies nationwide to help families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. The three-year grant will allow Hospice of the Valley to significantly expand its Palliative Care for Dementia program, which provides home visits to help caregivers with education, emotional support, behavior management strategies, medications, respite, placement options and living wills. Families also have 24/7 phone support with a nurse, social worker or Hospice of the Valley medical director Dr. Gillian Hamilton.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to help more families who so desperately need support,” Hamilton said. “Dementia is a vulnerable and challenging journey and no one should travel it alone.”
This program serves those at any stage and with any type of dementia, as well as their family caregivers. Hospice of the Valley will collaborate with a number of local organizations to create programs with a special focus on people with dementia living alone; those with distressed behaviors; and those with developmental disabilities like Down syndrome, who may develop Alzheimer’s at an early age.
Executive Director Debbie Shumway expressed gratitude and excitement. “Our goal is to help those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their family caregivers live at home with high quality of life. We are extremely grateful for this grant and for the collaboration of so many local partners who share this same vision.”
Those partners include: The Alzheimer’s Association, Dementia Caregiver Alliance, Duet Partners in Health and Aging, Senior Adult Independent Living Program, Tempe Fire Medical Rescue, University of Arizona Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities and VALLEYLIFE.
This grant also provides funding to train a dementia-capable workforce to better serve the rapidly rising number of people who will be diagnosed — a 43% increase in Arizona by 2025.