By Edrena Harrison, ACSW, Information Programs Specialist at Family Caregiver Alliance
From Left to Right: Kathleen Sullivan (Seniors Services, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center), Martin H. Blank, Jr. (The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation), Kirsten Johnson, (“What is A Caregiver?” campaign, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation) and Anne Basting (TimeSlips, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
In June 2007, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation published an expert panel discussion report, Strengthening Caregiving for Alzheimer’s Disease, which outlined promising practices, research recommendations and key principles for caregiver support. As a result, The Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Legacy Awards Program was initiated. The program promotes those principles and stimulates innovation in the field of Alzheimer’s disease caregiving by recognizing and rewarding those efforts, which lead the way in addressing the needs of Alzheimer’s caregivers.
With support from The Foundation, Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) recognized the recipients of the 2012 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards during the Aging in America Conference in Chicago, IL on March 14, 2013. A 5th year celebration reception was held to honor the three selected programs for awards of $20,000 each and to acknowledge past awardees. The current awardees received their award certificates and made presentations about their programs.
Near the end of the program, a Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards digital scrapbook, highlighting all 17 awarded programs from 2008 to 2012 was presented. In addition to staff from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Family Caregiver Alliance, Ad Lucem Consulting and current and past representatives’ organizations, attendees included local government administrators, university educators, community program directors and staff, other helping professionals, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, family caregivers, and others.
The program and representative in each of the categories were as follows:
2012 Winner, Creative Expression
Program: TimeSlips, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Center on Age & Community (Milwaukee, WI).
TimeSlips opens creative storytelling to people with dementia by replacing the pressure to remember with the freedom to imagine. It inspires others to see beyond loss to recognize their strengths; and improves the quality of life of people with dementia and their caregivers. The program offers training, certification, and consulting for individuals and organizations, and acts as a resource for those dedicated to transforming dementia care through creative engagement. Gathered stories can be celebrated and shared with other family members and friends. The project also includes a free interactive website where caregivers can facilitate storytelling wherever they are—at home or in congregate settings. Program staff estimated training over 3,000 caregivers in in-person and online workshops over the past 14 years. Website: www.timeslips.org
2012 Winner, Diverse/Multicultural Communities
Program: Seniors Services, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center (Los Angeles, CA)
The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center operates the only fully integrated Seniors Services program for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual (LGBT) seniors in the Greater Los Angeles area. Alzheimer’s disease impacts LGBT seniors at the same rate as their heterosexual peers. As a result, the Center’s Seniors Services program developed monthly Alzheimer’s (Disease) Caregiver and Bereavement support groups. These support groups are specifically for LGBT caregivers and partners living with Alzheimer’s disease. Those who participate in the Caregiver support groups also have access to a system of comprehensive wrap-around care with legal, medical, and mental health services. Website: www.lagaycenter.org
2012 Winner, Policy and Advocacy
Program: “What Is a Caregiver?” Public Awareness Campaign, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation (St. Paul, MN)
Left: Kirsten M. Johnson, Community Initiatives Manager. Right: Ad Web Page (www.whatisacaregiver.org)
About 19% of caregivers self-identify as a “caregiver.” Most caregivers do not know they are playing this new role, and as a result do not access supports that could help them. This creates a domino effect of negative health and economic consequences. Wilder’s response to this problem was to develop and launch an innovative approach to identifying and engaging caregivers before the crisis. This public awareness campaign was the first of its kind – and had tremendous impact on creating community awareness of caregivers. The year-long campaign had a total of 160,755,000 media impressions. Approximately 45,000 caregivers of those with dementia were impacted by the campaign. Website: www.wilder.org
Staff and Award Program Representatives (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012)
Left to Right: Bobbi Cordano (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation), Martin H. Blank, Jr. (The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation), Alejandra Ceja-Aguilar (Southern Caregiver Resource Center-2011 Awardee), Kathleen Sullivan (L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center), Maureen Kenney (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation), Maria Genne (Kairos Alive! – 2011 Awardee), Liz Schwarte (Ad Lucem Consulting), Judith-Kate Friedman (Songwriting Works- 2010 Awardee), Kirsten Johnson (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation), Kathleen Kelly (Family Caregiver Alliance), Laura Prohov (CJE Senior Life-2008 Awardee), Anne Basting (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Edrena Harrison (Family Caregiver Alliance) and Roberto Velasquez (Southern Caregiver Resource Center-2011 Awardee)
A recent government-funded report confirms what advocacy groups have been warning for years: The number of people in the U.S.A. with Alzheimer’s disease will almost triple by 2050, straining the health care system and taxing the health of caregivers. (See the USA Today article.) Family Caregiver Alliance would like to know about more innovative and effective programs that are addressing the needs of Alzheimer’s disease caregivers across the nation.
To Apply for an Award:
Applications for the 2013 awards will be available in May 2013. To learn more about the Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards, visit the FCA website: www.caregiver.org. To learn more about The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, visit their website.