SOURCE: Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Alzheimer's Foundation of America

December 09, 2015 12:12 ET

Dementia Care Professionals of America Names 2015 Dementia Care Professional of the Year

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - December 09, 2015) - Teryn Clarke, M.D., medical director of Alzheimer's Family Services Center in Huntington Beach, Calif., and board-certified neurologist at Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach, Calif., has been named Dementia Care Professionals of America's (DCPA) Dementia Care Professional of the Year. For nearly a decade, DCPA, a division of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, has bestowed this honor upon an individual who has "demonstrated professional excellence in care, compassionate performance that exceeds expectations, and a dedicated commitment" to people with Alzheimer's disease or related illnesses.

In addition to her medical and scientific background, Clarke has extensive personal experience with relatives who experienced memory loss due to several different degenerative brain conditions, including Alzheimer's disease. She understands the daily challenges families face and uses her insights to help her patients' families navigate their care journey.

"I am overwhelmed by this honor," said Clarke. "It is a reflection upon the wonderful people I work with at the Alzheimer's Family Services Center, the Shankle Clinic for Memory and Cognitive Disorders and the Hoag Neurosciences Institute. Alzheimer's disease is not the hopeless disorder it was 15 years ago. There is a lot we can do to slow the disease with our current approaches, including medications and diet and lifestyle modifications. Chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and vitamin deficiencies, may also worsen memory function and need to be treated as part of our approach to optimizing memory."

Clarke provides medical oversight for the nearly 100 adult day health care patients served daily at the Alzheimer's Family Services Center, with a focus on compassionate, comprehensive and person-centered care. She works in tandem with a multidisciplinary team that includes a physical therapist, pharmacist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, nurses and social workers, monitoring each participants health and medication regimen and making necessary adjustments to each person's care plan as needed.

"Through her commitment and passion for her work, Dr. Clarke personifies the spirit of the Dementia Care Professional of the Year Award," said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. "In the absence of a cure, it is people like her who shape the care landscape, providing individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their families with not only medical treatment and support but also with hope. We are proud to recognize her with this award."

Clarke's philosophy is that cognitive care includes not only the medical treatment of the individual with dementia, but also caregiver support. She also believes that early detection of Alzheimer's disease is critical to maintaining quality of life.

"Understanding cognitive function is essential not just for neurologists, but also for primary care providers. Because we can slow down, but not reverse cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's, I t is crucial to detect such disorders before they cause disability," Clarke said. "At annual check-ups, memory should be checked, just as blood pressure and cholesterol are so we can identify subtle changes early."

DCPA offers membership, training, qualification and other benefits to dementia care professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aides and therapists. DCPA has trained more than 8,000 professionals since the division was founded in 2004. For more information, visit www.careprofessionals.org.

About the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA):

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,400 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, or connect with us on Facebook.

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