A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University and a Jewish charity revealed that people with dementia could live in their homes with help 10 months longer than those without help.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry
and The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore
partnered on the $1.8-million study, called MIND
at Home. The study was designed by Hopkins and funded by Associated. The study was designed to provide a model that could be used by community service agencies throughout the country.
“This is the first study coming out of the geriatric psychiatry division that looked at dementia service delivery,” says Quincy Samus, a Johns Hopkins assistant professor in the division and project director.
Dementia care coordinators provided help for a range of needs, including general medical care, interactions of their medications, behavioral problems, social involvement like adult day care, home safety modifications, financial issues and safe driving.
The average age of the study participants, chosen at random from Baltimore neighborhoods, was 84 and many of them still drove their cars.
The help the participants received not only kept them in their homes longer but improved their quality of life as well, says Samus, who notes that the study was designed to provide a model that could be used by community service agencies throughout the country.
LeRoy Hoffberger, past chairman of Associated, is credited for being the catalyst for the study and leading its fundraising efforts. The 18-month study was staffed by Jewish Community Services, an Associated agency, with Hopkins developing the protocols for the dementia care coordinators. Hopkins experts from its Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center also participated.
According to Barbara Levy Gradet, Jewish Community Services’ executive director, the coordinators specialized in dementia care and the impact of dementia on family care-givers.
Gradet says the Associated agency is now planning how to bring the study to scale, in other words, how to translate what worked for a small setting to the Jewish community as a whole. Still to be determined is a funding source to broaden the scope, whether a federal agency or insurance companies.
In 2012, an estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease. Over 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, at an estimated cost of $200 billion.
Although results from the Mind At Home study have not yet been published in professional journals, preliminary findings were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last month.
Calling the dementia service delivery system a “crucial concept,” Samus says the “ultimate hope is that other states adopt this approach.”
Sources: Quincy Samus, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry; Barbara Levy Gradet, Jewish Community Services
Writer: Barbara Pash; firstname.lastname@example.org