Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Preparing for Alzheimer Europe in Vienna
I fear this blog has been going through a fallow time, largely because of very busy schedules. The Fox Valley Memory Project of which we long dreamed is now up and running, with a program director aboard and the first two (of a projected five) Memory Cafes scheduled to open within the next six weeks. They will be followed in short order by the "Family Care Partners Welcome Center," a comprehensive resource center for persons caring for someone with the diagnosis of dementia, or simply concerned by early symptoms and uncertain where to turn for help. Research and evaluation will be structured into the Project from the very beginning - we want to demonstrate that these programs have real and meaningful value, hoping that other communities will emulate them. Already, friends and colleagues in the Madison area have opened one Memory Cafe with a second scheduled to start soon. The one that is operating already has 17 participants! You can see a report on it here. In the new year we will add the "workplace enrichment" phase of the project. Led by Goodwill Industries, it will aim to educate and equip employers to support employees who are diagnosed with cognitive challenges while still in the workplace, which is likely to be a growing challenge in the coming years. Finally, if we receive the second grant for which we have applied, we will open the Memory Assessment Center. Our region, like most, is woefully under-resourced to offer early and accurate diagnosis integrated with a wide variety of resources to ensure that life may still flourish within the reality of progressive memory loss (a six or seven month wait for an assessment is not uncommon). Ultimately we would like to offer assessment services in a non-clinical setting to minimize anxiety. We will report in more detail on these efforts as they unfold. Meanwhile, it is off to Vienna, where Susan and I will each present papers and listen to many more. We will post stories and pictures in the coming days.