Alzheimer's Award 2008 - Fondation Médéric Alzheimer - Alzheimer's Disease International

Fondation Mederic Alzheimer In 2008, Fondation Médéric Alzheimer and Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) launched the first Alzheimer's Award

The winners of the award were announced during the Alzheimer's Disease International conference in Singapore in March 2009.

Mary Mittelman received the prize for her proposal 'Translating the NYU Caregiver Intervention from Research to Practise Settings'. An additional prize for the most innovative psychosocial intervention was awarded to Danny George for his submission, 'Can Intergenerational Volunteering Promote Quality of Life for Persons with Mild to Moderate Dementia?'

Translating the NYU Caregiver Intervention from Research to Practice Settings

Mary Mittelman, NYU School of Medicine

This project began in the 1980s and still continues. It was designed to mobilize the support of family networks, improve caregiving skills and provide the opportunity for counselling as needed over the entire course of caregiving. The treatment group received six sessions of individual and family counselling within a 4-month period, agreed to join support groups and could contact the counsellor for additional help. The control group received the usual care offered to family members. The intervention has proven efficacy in improving caregiver support and physical health and reducing depression and problem behaviours, even years after.

Can Intergenerational Volunteering Promote Quality of Life for Persons with Mild to Moderate Dementia?

Danny George, The Intergenerational School

From the hypothesis that intergenerational volunteering would enhance quality of life, fifteen residents of an assisted living facility in Cleveland, Ohio, were randomised into two groups. One group volunteered weekly in a school in a variety of activities in kindergarten and with older students. The other group participated in an educational seminar at the assisted living home over the same interval. Quality of life was measured by aggregating scores on psychometric tests and by analysing qualitative data collected during the 10-month study.

Ultimately, the intervention group showed a statistically significant reduction in stress, a lower mean decline in cognitive functioning compared with the control group, and comparatively higher scores for sense of purpose and sense of usefulness. The study suggests that intergenerational volunteering may promote quality of life for persons with mild to moderate dementia through a variety of bio-psychosocial pathways - particularly stress reduction - and confirms that older persons challenged by memory loss can still make major contributions to their community.

Where next?