Local Alzheimer’s Association Gets $500,000 Grant from Golisano Foundation

The Alzheimer’s Association Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter announced that it has received a $500,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation for phase 2 of its IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) health initiative.

In addition to Rochester, the initiative extends to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Western New York Chapter in Buffalo and the South West Florida Chapter in Clearwater, Florida.

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are experiencing an unprecedented increase in longevity and, consequently, facing more age-related challenges, including the development of dementia,” said Teresa Galbier, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter. “There are limited training and health system supports for professional and family caregivers of people with IDD as they develop and live with dementia. This generous funding will help address that gap.”

For adults with Down syndrome, the lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s disease is 90%, and it is the leading cause of death. By age 60, at least 50% of people with Down syndrome already have clinical evidence of dementia.

The grant will be distributed over two years, with $300,000 in 2022 and $200,000 in 2023, and will enable the Alzheimer’s Association to hire additional staff to oversee the program in each of the three regions — Rochester, Buffalo, and Southwest Florida. The program will use a comprehensive approach that targets a wide range of individuals and organizations influencing the diagnosis, care, and support of individuals with IDD living with dementia.

The program is expected to have the following outcomes: 21 community educators trained; 225 caregivers who receive training from community educators; 300 professional caregivers trained; 675 people with IDD and dementia receive support.

Ann Costello, executive director of the Golisano Foundation said, “The Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter has a proven track record of successfully training providers who serve individuals with intellectual disabilities and dementia. Their expertise along with the proposed expansion of training will significantly increase the number of qualified professionals, family caregivers, and volunteers available to provide the best possible care for the growing number of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who need help to improve their quality of life.”

“The Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter has supported people with IDD who have dementia for more than 15 years,” Galbier said. From 2019 to 2021, in partnership with the Golisano Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association developed and piloted a model for building a dementia-capable IDD workforce by preparing 15 individuals from four IDD agencies within the Buffalo and Rochester areas to train and support 230 of their colleagues.