New joint initiative to help local veterans with dementia

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Albany Stratton VA Medical Center and the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York announced a new initiative to provide Veterans with Dementia and their caregiver with enhanced services.

Nearly half a million Veterans live with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S., and that number is projected to grow as the population ages.

“So life is harder for everybody, but it is even harder for those people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and their loved ones,” Elizabeth Smith-Boivin, Executive Director of the Northeastern New York Alzheimer’s Association, said.

“What we find in a lot of Veterans is that they don’t suffer from Alzheimer’s disease specifically but rather another form of dementia.”

Peter Potter, Public Relation officer of the Albany Stratton VA, said these different types of diagnosis of Dementia arise because Veterans have different life experiences than most people.

“What we see from the VA’s aspect, folks that have come off combat or have been around IED’s and explosions,” said Potter.

Potter said that’s why both sides of the partnership—the VA and the Alzheimer’s Association—is necessary to provide proper diagnosis and care for patients.

The program will provide Veterans and their caregivers with a caregiving package that will allow them an educational consultation every three months, and Boivin said those visits could be life-changing.

“We do know as well that it helps to keep people at home an average of almost two years longer when this coaching and education along the journey,” said Boivin.

Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association will also be training staff at the Albany Stratton VA to become certified Dementia Care Specialists and provide better care for their patients.

The initiative was made possible by the Goldberg Foundation and the Albany Stratton VA stated in a press release that they are “thrilled with the generous donation of The Goldberg Foundation, providing us with an opportunity to further enhance the services we are providing to our Veterans living with Alzheimer’s disease.”

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