Grants awarded to focus on awareness, support for people with Alzheimer’s, caregivers

January 14, 2016

A new Minnesota Board on Aging grant program will help community organizations raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and serve caregivers of people who have the diseases.

The 2015 Legislature appropriated $1.5 million, which will be used now through June 30, 2017, to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, increase the rate of cognitive testing in the population at risk for dementias, promote the benefits of early diagnosis and connect caregivers to education and resources.

“Alzheimer’s alone impacts some 89,000 Minnesotans over age 65 and the number is growing,” said Jean Wood, executive director of the Minnesota Board on Aging. “These grants promote a more supportive environment for people with dementia, including resources for their caregivers.”

All of the 20 projects funded have awareness-raising efforts, including using theater to educate Latino communities about dementia and a social media platform to do outreach to the Korean community. Other grantees will promote the benefits of early diagnosis of dementia and offer early identification memory screenings within senior public housing facilities; engage with businesses to identify working caregivers; and promote safe exercise programs for people with Alzheimer’s.

Grantees are diverse in being equal parts urban and rural, with some specifically responsive to the cultural norms and values of African-American, American Indian, Korean, Lao, Latino and Somali cultures. Grantees include educational institutions, public health boards, long-term care providers and community organizations.

More information can be found on the DHS press release.