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YouthCare Pilots In-Home Respite Care for Individuals with Alzheimer's

Posted January 22, 2020 by Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's

This is an update on the winning proposal from the LIVE category in the 2019 LA2050 challenge.

The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's (YMAA) is an advocacy and service organization operated by a motivated group of young individuals that value community involvement and are dedicated to making a change. Specifically, YMAA's YouthCare program creates space for intergenerational connections, alleviating the challenges of an aging population and allowing youth passionate about changing the perception of Alzheimer's to gain work experience.

HOW IT WORKS

YouthCare is an in-home activity and memory care program that pairs trained undergraduate and graduate student volunteers with older adults diagnosed with MCI, early-stage Alzheimer's, or dementia. Student volunteers go into the homes of family caregivers and follow a set curriculum designed by the UCLA Longevity Center in order to provide patients with cognitive stimulating activities and companionship. This helps to improve the quality of life for seniors by keeping them engaged, channeling their energy in a positive way, and uplifting their mood. The program also helps their family caregiver by providing them with temporary support in taking care of their loved one.

PROGRESS SO FAR

Since we have received the LA2050 Grant, YMAA has made great progress in the development of YouthCare: hiring a team and acquiring volunteers. In July 2019, we hired a new CEO and in November 2019, we hired a Director of Caregiving Programs. These team members have been working hand in hand to flush out the next phase of the YouthCare program.

In addition, during this planning phase, we have successfully modified the program structure from facility-based services to the in-home model, including finalizing marketing materials and revising the program curriculum.

WHAT'S TO COME

The next steps in bringing this program to life are recruitment of volunteers and patients, volunteer training, and program activities. The recruitment of student volunteers will consist of phone calls, e-mails, and in-person Q&A sessions on campus.

The recruitment of patients is a bit more complicated and will require our team to attend collaborative community meetings, hold in-service sessions with doctors and discharge planners, and outreach to social workers and health plans, as well as going out into the community to meet with family caregivers face-to-face. We also plan to place advertisements in print and online media publications, radio stations, and local television stations to aid in the recruitment process. At the beginning and end of the program cycle, we will also send out press releases to major media outlets so that the community is aware of the amazing work the Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's is doing.

We are prepared and ready for this next phase: launching the in-home YouthCare model in March 2020. With this pilot program, our goal is to serve a minimum of 20 family caregivers and patients while engaging 50 or more student volunteers. This pilot program cycle will run for a total of 8 weeks. Every program cycle thereafter will run for approximately 12 weeks.

We will also be planning ongoing training and social events for everyone involved in this program in order to build a sense of community between students, family caregivers, and persons with Alzheimer's or dementia. After the pilot is complete, we anticipate the creation of an alumni group so that previous volunteers will come back during the next program cycle to greet new student volunteers and share their experiences.

All in all, we are making progress towards our goals and we are excited to continue to serve the Los Angeles community!