Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Awards Grants to 16 Local Groups Nationwide

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Funds Will Start or Expand Vital Programs for Increasing Dementia Population

Recognizing the ever-growing needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and their caregivers, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) today awarded grants totaling $80,000 to 16 grassroots organizations and law enforcement agencies across the country to support vital programs, including education, adult day programs, and search and rescue services to locate wanderers.

AFA, a national nonprofit organization based in New York, awards these grants twice a year to its nonprofit member organizations based on a competitive application process. In this cycle, each organization has been awarded $5,000.

“AFA’s ongoing grants program recognizes the critical role grassroots agencies play in the lives of families affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and takes on increased significance in light of government funding cutbacks,” said Bert E. Brodsky, AFA’s chairman. “These hands-on services are changing lives and changing the face of dementia care in our nation.”

Nationwide, as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive brain disorder that results in loss of memory and other intellectual functions. The incidence is rising at an alarming rate, in line with the aging population who are most at risk for the brain disorder.

In an effort to address wandering, one of the most common, challenging and costly symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, AFA has provided grants to five agencies to implement or expand Project Lifesaver, a program that works in collaboration with public safety agencies to locate people with dementia who become lost. Research shows that people who are not found within the first 24 hours stand only a 50 percent chance of survival.

Audrey Wippler, who leads Alzheimer’s Family Services, Inc., Pensacola, FL, said the Project Lifesaver program is one of the most critical services the community organization offers. The agency will use its $5,000 grant to purchase transmitters, batteries and wristbands for clients, and subsidize monthly fees for financially-pressed families.

“This AFA grant will have a huge impact on those living with dementia in our area because we receive no state or federal funding to support this or any other program we currently offer,” Wippler said.

Additional recipients of AFA’s Project Lifesaver grants are Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Springfield, MO; Prince William County Sheriff’s Office, Manassas, VA; Stony Point Police Department, Stony Point, NY; and Union County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe, NC.

Among the other grants, some will fund programs for underserved populations. GEM Adult Day Services, Inc. in Kill Devil Hills, NC, will train at-risk youth in dementia care and provide them with volunteer and internship opportunities, for instance.

Other awards will help support creative arts and recreational therapy programs for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Among them, Lev Leytzan: The Compassionate Clown Alley, Inc., Lawrence, NY, will expand ElderHearts, a therapeutic clowning program; and Progress Unlimited, Inc., Owings Mills, MD, will purchase equipment for a multi-sensory room for people with dementia.

The remaining awards will support caregiving training and adult day programs, including providing scholarships to people in financial need. Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, TN, for one, will use the grant to provide in-home education and customized support services to family caregivers across nine rural counties in Tennessee.

Applications for AFA’s next round of bi-annual grants must be postmarked by August 1, 2013. In addition to these grants, AFA awards the AFA Innovation Grant, an annual grant given to one innovative program or service; family respite care grants; and an annual college scholarship through its AFA Teens division.

For more information about funding opportunities and membership, call 866-232-8484 or visit

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 independent member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals with dementia, their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free hot line, e-mail, Skype and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information, call toll-free 866-232-8484 or visit    


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Joana Casas
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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