Since 1989, the Brookdale National Group Respite Program has awarded seed grants to organizations to develop and implement social model group respite programs. These day programs have served thousands of elders with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia and their family caregivers. In addition to group respite, the development of programs for people with Early Memory Loss (EML) is also supported through this grant initiative.
In addition to providing respite care and enjoyable group activities that build on the strengths and abilities of participants the programs offer family caregivers access to services such as counseling, support groups, information and referral, training and education. With a nationwide network of programs providing regular respite services the Program demonstrates that a cost-effective, social model of adult day services can successfully address the special needs of Alzheimer's families.
At present, there is a gap in supportive services available for people recently diagnosed with EML. This engaging, educational service model allows adults to be productive, involved members of the community and participate in programming that enhances independence. This EML program also provides the opportunity to learn practical skills in a non-threatening group setting with peers.
Memory enhancement and compensatory skill building are central elements in this consumer-directed social and educational program. Other components of this EML program are group problem-solving, socialization, peer support, exercise and camaraderie. This model has been replicated around the country in response to the growing population of people seeking both earlier diagnosis and resources to meet their unique needs.
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