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Center for Neurobehavioral Health Awarded State Grant for Alzheimers Disease Caregiver Initiatives

SUNY Plattsburgh’s Center for Neurobehavioral Health was awarded $7.5 million in state funding over the next five years to invest in programs that aim to give emotional and financial support to New Yorkers living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.

“The funding will go a long way to helping to improve the lives of those living with Alzheimer's and other dementia in the region we serve,” said Dr. Michael Morales, interim executive director for the Center for Neurobehavioral Health, which is part of the college’s psychology department.

SUNY Plattsburgh is one of nine organizations across the state that will each receive funds over the course of five years. The money will be distributed in equal amounts each quarter starting in May 2016.

An estimated 1 million unpaid caregivers look after almost 380,000 New York residents living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The number of state residents with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase to 460,000 by 2025.

"Alzheimer's disease affects thousands of New Yorkers each year and takes a devastating toll on both patients and the caregivers," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "This investment will provide a wide range of support and respite services for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's and similar diseases."

New Jobs Created

The Center for Neurobehavioral Health, formed in 2009, provides comprehensive services to North Country residents whose lives have been affected by neurologically-based disorders. It also facilitates research to help further the academic and professional community’s knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease as well as conditions that cause developmental and physical impairment.

The Center for Neurobehavioral Health employs 29 people who serve about 1,110 North Country residents annually. The grant money will create six new jobs.

The many organizations that comprise the center provide services like diagnostic assessment, individualized care, caregiver support groups, education and training for formal and informal caregivers, memory screenings, a caregiver toll-free helpline and adult social day programming, which also provides respite for caregivers. Administering nursing home transition and diversion services that attempt to keep the aging population living independently in their homes for as long as possible are also part of the center’s mission.

Comprehensive Services

“This is an awe-inspiring experience for me, and we are very excited to be given the opportunity to expand upon existing comprehensive support programs for caregivers in the North Country,” said Dr. Richard Durant, clinical director of the center.

“This state-funded program for dementia caregivers is unprecedented across the country, which once again identifies the SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Neurobehavioral Health and its staff as an exceptional landmark program, with the capability and expertise required for exceptional community service program delivery.”

Durant will serve as project director in the center’s new endeavors alongside Yvonne Lott, co-project director, and Valarie Drown, project coordinator and a licensed mental health counselor.

The grant will expand and enhance care consultation, family consultation, support groups, caregiver education and respite for family caregivers. Additionally, it will help fund Project Lifesaver, a remote-tracking system for individuals at risk of wandering and RCI REACH-II, an intensive service for families to divert crises. Caregiver companion programs will be expanded and joint enrichment opportunities for caregivers and care recipients will be created.

The grant proposal was developed in partnership with offices around the North Country. Those agencies are the Clinton County Office for the Aging; Franklin County Office for the Aging; Essex County Office for the Aging; Warren County Office for the Aging; Hamilton County Office for the Aging; Washington County CARES Office for Aging and Disability Resources; St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Office for the Aging; Alzheimer’s Association, Northeastern New York Chapter; North Country Home Services; Mercy Care for the Adirondacks; Community Friendship Volunteer Program of Malone; Saranac Village at Will Rogers; Champlain Valley Senior Community; Washington County Sheriff’s Office; Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

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