SOURCE: Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Alzheimer's Foundation of America

July 07, 2015 10:54 ET

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Awards $25,000 Innovation Grant

Alabama Organization's Sensory-Based Program for People With Late-Stage Dementia Named Winner

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - July 07, 2015) - The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) today announced that it has awarded its 2015 Brodsky Innovation Grant to Caring Days, an adult day center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for its "Enhancing Life Through The Senses" program. Designed to improve quality of life for individuals in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, Enhancing Life Through the Senses employs technology such as fiber optics, bubble tubes, aroma diffusers, vibrating music recliners and low-tech tools like baby dolls and massage therapy, to create a rich, multi-sensory environment.

"Too often, because people in the later stages of the disease may be unable to walk or communicate, there is a tendency simply to dim the lights and turn on elevator music," said Vicki Kerr, Caring Days' executive director. "But we believe people need fun. We want each day to be its own, not a soothing repeat of the day before. This sensory program 'cranks it up' and gives us an opportunity to help improve the lives of our clients and their family caregivers."

Kerr notes that some clients' caregivers have observed that their loved ones seem more alert after attending the program. She hopes the program will set a new standard among care facilities in Alabama. Caring Days is currently working with the University of Alabama to develop a workshop that would help other communities develop quality programs of their own, using the multi-sensory room as a model.

AFA awards the $25,000 Brodsky Innovation Grant annually to one of its nonprofit member organizations for a groundbreaking program or service that improves the lives of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their families. The program must fulfill a great need within the community and demonstrate potential for replication.

"There is a tremendous need for programs that tap into the spirit of people in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease and help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness," said Bert E. Brodsky, AFA's board chairman, for whom the grant is named. "Caring Days' unique `Enhancing the Senses' program has the potential to do just that."

Caring Days is a program of Caring Congregations, a group of 22 congregations of various denominations, who came together to address unmet needs in the West Alabama area. The Caring Days Adult Day Care center opened in March 1997. In addition to its adult day programs, Caring Days offers support groups, training classes and other services.

For more information about the Brodsky Innovation Grant and AFA's other grants and services, visit www.alzfdn.org, or call 866-232-8484.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA)

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America, based in New York, is a nonprofit organization that unites more than 2,300 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national toll-free helpline staffed by licensed social workers, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, and "like" us on Facebook.

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