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Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center Awarded Half-Million-Dollar Grant

A five-year, $500,000 grant will help support The Northeastern New York Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center at SUNY Plattsburgh.

The grant was awarded by the New York State Department of Health and will help fund the center’s continued services from 2011 to 2016.

“The Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center is proud to be the recipient of a 2011 New York state grant award for the continuation of services,” said Dr. Taher Zandi, director of the center. Those services include neuropsychological assessment, respite care, and education for regional caregivers and individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementia, as well as support groups, geriatric counseling and a mood and memory clinic.

Zandi established the center 24 years ago after recognizing a need.

“I used to see patients who suffered from dementia disorders and found that their needs and their families’ needs were beyond the scope of what we were able to offer them,” he said.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia disorder that gradually depletes a patient’s mental, psychological and physical abilities and can last up to 20 years.

“We had nothing in this area for these people, and I felt a great deal of obligation toward my patients and their family members,” Zandi said.

Statistically, he said, there are up to 10,800 people in the region who suffer from some form of dementia, and it affects 25-to-30 percent of adults over the age of 80. With baby boomers  growing older, Zandi said the center’s services will be even more needed.

“We need to increase our services both quantitatively and qualitatively,” he said. “We have come a long way. Today we serve as many as 2,000 patients and their family members each year.”

The center runs on an annual budget of $700,000, generating funds through its Third Age Adult Day Center, as well as through grants.

“Fortunately, over the past 24 years, many other agencies and clinical programs have become familiar with the disease and the needs of the clients, enabling them to pitch in,” Zandi said. “The Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center’s plan for the next five years is to increase its clinical diagnostic capacity in order to prepare itself for the next demographic wave of the aging population.”

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