Four programs addressing dementia care or mental health needs in affordable housing have received Innovatons Fund grants from Washington, DC-based aging services association LeadingAge and the foundation of Philadelphia-based provider NewCourtland. This is the third round of awards from the fund, which gives monies to nonprofit providers of aging services for projects that have a demonstrable impact on residents, clients, families, employees or the broader community, and that have the potential for replication.
Ecumen in Shoreview, Minn., and Montefiore Home in Beachwood, Ohio, have been awarded about $30,000 and $20,000, respectively, for dementia care programs deemed innovative. Ecumen will use its grant to integrate bright blue lights within memory units for adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Studies have shown that exposure to blue light decreases sleep disturbances and reduces depression and agitation among seniors with dementia. Montefiore will use its grant to implement an in-home memory support program to expand the range of services to the community throughout the continuum of dementia care and provide an alternative to premature facility-based long-term care or assisted living.
LeadingAge's Great Minds Gala (held in partnership with Integrace, formerly EMA), as well as LeadingAge members and others, provided the funding given to the dementia programs.
SET Ministry, Inc. in Milwaukee, and Senior Housing Assistance Group (SHAG) in Seattle, each have been awarded about $50,000. SET will use its funds to develop a community health advocate program at three public housing sites. This project will train community opinion leaders to promote health and well-being in their communities, with an emphasis on healing from chronic toxic stress in childhood, as well as community organization and empowerment. SHAG will use its grant to create a hoarding disorder specialist position that will work with SHAG’s property managers, resident service coordinators and residents. Nearly 40 percent of SHAG senior residents who are at risk for evictions suffer from hoarding disorder. The specialist will work to develop best practices for working with these residents.
Funding for the mental health programs was made possible by the NewCourtland Foundation, LeadingAge members and others.