Date
04/09/2019
Title
Hebrew SeniorLife Opens the Center for Memory Health for People Living with Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias
Article

The Center for Memory Health is the first to offer fully comprehensive care for both people living with dementia and their caregivers;
Includes the first and only evidence-based, nurse-led comprehensive care management program for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias in New England

BOSTON –The new Center for Memory Health at Harvard Medical School affiliate Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) is tackling Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) in ways not seen at other health care organizations across the nation. Uniquely, the Center for Memory Health at Hebrew SeniorLife serves not only people living with dementia at all stages of memory loss, but also their families, caregivers, and other loved ones. The Center for Memory Health includes the first and only evidence-based, nurse-led comprehensive care management for Alzheimer’s and dementias in New England.

“Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and its impact is projected to more than double by 2050, rising to 13.8 million Americans age 65 or older from 5.8 million today,” said Louis J. Woolf, President & CEO, Hebrew SeniorLife, a national senior services leader uniquely dedicated to rethinking, researching, and redefining the possibilities of aging.

“That Goliath must be stopped, and HSL is bringing its 116+ years of experience caring exclusively for seniors to the battle, fighting the progression of the disease, supporting patients and their caregivers, and collaborating with like-minded experts on evidence-based approaches to treatment,” Woolf continued.

The Center for Memory Health applies a holistic, comprehensive, and evidence-based approach to Alzheimer’s and related dementias that maximizes the functional capacity of older adults at all stages of memory loss - early undiagnosed symptoms; moderate to severe cognitive symptoms; and advanced symptoms at end of life - and provides essential services to their families. Led by Medical Director Gary Epstein-Lubow, M.D., the Center for Memory Health offers clinical care, research, education, and advocacy. The Center for Memory Health serves everyone, regardless of where they live.

The human cost of Alzheimer’s is high: In 2017 alone, 127,000 Americans died due to Alzheimer’s. The financial impact of Alzheimer’s is also staggering. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) projects that $290 billion will be spent on Alzheimer’s and dementia services, long-term care, and hospice in 2019. Another estimated $234 billion will be spent as the result of lost wages and other costs for caregivers and their families. While there are some treatments today, there is no cure.

According to Ian Kremer, Executive Director, Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease, “Addressing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia with unprecedented urgency, vision, and determination is a national priority, an economic and budgetary necessity, and a health and moral imperative. We applaud Hebrew SeniorLife and the Center for Memory Health, which aim both to deliver better care and quality of life for older adults living with the disease and to build evidence-based programs that can pave the way for a consistent, best practice approach to Alzheimer’s treatment for others to follow.”

Center for Memory Health Services

The Center for Memory Health is initially offering four core outpatient programs, either individually or in combination, to provide customized support.

  • Consultation: This program is designed to determine a path forward for each person with a memory or caregiver concern.
  • Memory Assessment: This program facilitates advanced diagnostic testing for patients who have experienced an observable change in cognition and/or functioning, or who have already “screened positive” on a standard cognitive assessment tool.
  • Care Management: Comprehensive care coordination brings together a Center for Memory Health nurse practitioner dementia specialist with a patient’s primary care provider as an integrated care team. Care management ranges from comprehensive assessments and personalized care plans to round-the-clock access to assistance and advice.
  • Family Care: All family members and caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients have access to a comprehensive family care program that focuses on their well-being. This program includes a variety of counseling options, as well as personalized supports and referrals, to help family members and caregivers make informed decisions and cope with the stress of their loved one’s condition.

According to Dr. Epstein-Lubow, “While some organizations may offer some of these services, no other program has the breadth and depth of our person-centered approach for both patients and family members, especially as we deliver it in a holistic and integrated way, including components led by nursing and social work. As the Center for Memory Health grows, we anticipate continued demand from older adults and their families searching for early answers, and from people living with moderate or advanced symptoms and their caregivers who are seeking answers for how to cope over time with the many challenges that come up in diseases like Alzheimer’s.”

The Center for Memory Health Collaborations

The Center for Memory Health works with experts around the world to discover new ways to ease the effects of dementia. Through the work of HSL’s Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, the Center for Memory Health will continually assess the programs it delivers, as well as develop and evaluate new approaches in the diagnosis and care of older adults with memory loss in collaboration with institutional partners. Through these partnerships, patients have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials if they choose. In addition, Center for Memory Health staff is actively involved in training the next generation of clinicians and service providers.

The Center for Memory Health partners with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and has been selected as the first adopter site for the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program. The spread of this evidence-based, cost-effective program to more patients and their families living with Alzheimer’s is supported by a grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation, a national organization dedicated to improving care for older adults. For more information on this program, please see this press release.

About Hebrew SeniorLife

Hebrew SeniorLife, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, is a national senior services leader uniquely dedicated to rethinking, researching, and redefining the possibilities of aging. Based in Boston, the non-profit, non-sectarian organization, founded in 1903, provides communities and health care for seniors, research into aging, and education for geriatric care providers . For more information about Hebrew SeniorLife, visit http://www.hebrewseniorlife.org, follow us on Twitter @H_SeniorLife, like us on Facebook, or read our blog.