The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Caregiving Awards Ceremony

By Edrena Harrison, ACSW, Information Programs Specialist at the National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance

With support from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) recognized the recipients of the 2011 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards during the 2012 Aging in America Conference in Washington DC, during March 2012.  A reception was held to honor the four programs that were selected in 2011 for awards of $20,000 each. Representatives made presentations about their programs and received their award certificates.

Caregiving Legacy Award Recipients

From Left to Right: Liz Schwarte (Samuels & Associates), Earl and Kim Lawson (African Descent/Somali Family Caregivers Bridge Program), Susan Frick (Without Warning Program) Alejandra Ceja-Aguilar (CALMA and CUIDAR), Maria Genne (The Dancing Heart: Vital Caregivers Moving in Community), Martin Blank (The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation) and Kathleen Kelly (Family Caregiver Alliance)

In addition to staff from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Family Caregiver Alliance, Samuels and Associates and the representatives’ organizations, reception attendees included federal and state government officials, university faculty and administrators, media representatives, program managers, researchers, graduate students, family caregivers and their loved ones.

Caregiving Legacy Award RecipientsFrom Left to Right: Earl and Kim Lawson (African Descent/Somali Family Caregivers Bridge Program), Susan Frick (Without Warning Program), Edrena Harrison, (Family Caregiver Alliance), Alejandra Ceja-Aguilar (CALMA and CUIDAR), and Maria Genne (The Dancing Heart: Vital Caregivers Moving in Community)

The program, organization and representative in each of the categories were as follows:

Creative Expression

The Dancing Heart: Vital Caregivers Moving in Community from the Kairos Dance Theatre in Minneapolis, MN; Maria Genne, Artistic Director.

Maria Genne

Maria Genne, Artistic Director

The Vital Caregivers Program of the Kairos Dance Theatre improves the well-being of caregivers who work in or have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease in a memory care adult day program or assisted living facility. Using participatory community-based performing arts creation strategies, it provides in-depth opportunities for artistic development, higher-level physical activity, and community connection. The program has been shown to measurably slow the process of dementia, and sustain or improve physical, emotional, and cognitive health in participants, and to vivify caregivers.

Policy and Advocacy

Without Warning Program from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, IL; Susan Frick, Education and Recruitment Coordinator/Social Worker.

Picture of Susan Frick Susan Frick, Education and Recruitment Coordinator/Social Worker                                                                                                                                                 (Photo: Allamar Young)

Without Warning (WW) is an advocacy, education, and support program and its overarching goal is to provide a voice to all family members living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease (YOAD). Frequently overlooked by national advocacy campaigns that focus on older adults with AD, people with YOAD and their families often describe themselves as “voiceless”. Using the resources and support of WW, members seek to raise awareness, develop relationships, and instigate change. WW advocacy efforts occur on a personal level, through support group meetings; within the larger community, through presentations and interviews; and nationally, through policy hearings. WW members state that engaging in advocacy efforts increases their sense of purpose and connectedness while decreasing stress and depression. In the greater community, advocacy efforts by WW members have effected change among the Social Security Administration, state and federal representatives, healthcare professionals, clergy, youth, and the general public.

Diverse/Multicultural Communities

African Descent/Somali Family Caregivers Bridge Program from the Allegheny West Conference/African American Alzheimer’s and Wellness Association in Columbus, OH; Kimberly Lawson, President.

Picture of Earl Lawson and Kim Lawson Earl and Kim Lawson, President, African Descent/Somali Family Caregivers Bridge Program

The primary goal of the Bridge Program is to provide families of African descent with Alzheimer’s disease caregiver resources. Many of the caregivers suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from experiencing wars and other violence in their home countries which include Somalia, Ethiopia and Ghana. By providing respite, translation, support groups, memory screenings, linkage to legal resources, family consultations and other services, the Bridge Program has assisted many families in caring for their family members who have Alzheimer’s disease. The Bridge Program provides a doorway for caregivers to find culturally appropriate relief and support throughout the long journey of providing care for their loved ones.

CALMA (Cuidadores Acompañándose y Luchando para Mejorar y Seguir Adelante) and CUIDAR (Cuidadores Unidos Inspirados en Dar Amor) from the Southern Caregiver Resource Center in San Diego, CA; Alejandra Ceja-Aguilar, Director of Education and Outreach.

Picture of Alejandra Ceja-Aguilar and Martin Blank
Alejandra Ceja-Aguilar (CALMA and CUIDAR) and Martin Blank (The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation) (Photo: Allamar Young)

The program is designed to help reduce caregiver depression and burden, and improve caregiver coping skills and health of Spanish-speaking, Latino family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementias (ADAD). The program’s overall goal is to provide a culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health intervention for Latino family caregivers. Latinos are the fastest growing population at greatest risk for developing ADAD, and Latino caregivers experience greater levels of distress when compared to other populations. Activities include translating the evidence-based REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregivers Health) intervention into a structure feasible to deliver in a social service setting; providing outreach through Promotoras; and providing psycho-educational interventions. The program reduces caregiver burden and depression, and increases the ability to cope with care receiver memory and behavior problems.

Congratulations to these four programs!  Applications for the 2012 awards will be available in May 2012. To learn more about the Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards, visit FCA’s website.

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