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There are 280,000 people in Pennsylvania over the age of 64 living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia, and that number is expected to swell to 320,000 over the next four years.
Yet, few state-licensed eldercare facilities have dementia-specific accommodations, nursing homes are short-staffed, care costs are exceedingly high, and support is often incredibly thin, a recent Spotlight PA/ PublicSource investigation revealed.
The result, advocates warn, is a perfect storm of limited resources against soaring needs, with many giving Pennsylvania a failing grade on its efforts to prepare.
On Friday, Oct. 8 at noon, Spotlight PA held a free panel on Alzheimer’s disease preparedness in Pennsylvania and possible solutions.
Spotlight PA has also compiled a list of resources for people caring for others with dementia.
Family and caregiver resources
Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 helpline: 1-800-272-3900
Alzheimer’s Association’s Caregiver Resources
The Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program
Pennsylvania’s Help at Home program, or OPTIONS, provides assistance to those 60 and up who want to stay in their home
The University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center’s memory evaluation service
UCLA Alzheimer and Dementia Care Program’s caregiver training videos
Pitt’s Brite Wellness Program, which works to stimulate the brain and body of those with mild cognitive impairment
Project Lifesaver is a service offered by law enforcement and emergency responders “to find citizens enrolled in the program when they become lost”
Learn more about dementia disorders and Alzheimer’s disease by joining Pennsylvania’s Dementia Friends program
Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 is a federally funded service that lets caregivers find resources in their area
The Consumer Voice offers policy updates and resource information free of charge to residents of nursing homes and all consumers of long-term care services
CAregivers REducing Stress (CARES) Meetup group offers a monthly space for non-professional caregivers of older adults to share experiences and advice
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s list of caregiver resources and links includes online support groups, legal resources, and help finding coping strategies
The New Ideas Study enlists volunteers to help study how amyloid PET brain scans help guide doctors in treating mild cognitive impairment
Hope Grows is a non-profit offering counseling and support to caregivers
Pennsylvania Area Agencies on Aging are important county-level conduits for aging-related services and programs
PublicSource has a list of caregiver resources at the bottom of this article
Patient services and supports
Find adult day services with the state’s online search tool
Pennsylvania’s LIFE program helps older Pennsylvanians get care at home
Find nearby home health agencies with Medicare’s Home Health Compare tool
Financial and legal resources
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Managing Someone’s Money Toolkit offers help and guidance for financial caregivers
SeniorLAWCenter can help with finding patient advocates, legal services, and financial supports: 1-877-727-7529
The Thinking Ahead Roadmap offers a financial planning resource
The Aging and Disability Unit of Community Legal Services offers free legal advice to seniors and their families
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