(KARE/NBC NEWS) — A new national study has the potential to change the quality of life for millions of people suffering from dementia. It also aims to better equip their families and caregivers.
“It’s trying to improve, or enhance, the type of care that’s delivered to someone who has dementia,” says the University of Minnesota’s Professor Joseph Gaugler. “That’s important and that’s what families struggle with on a day to day basis.”
The National Institute on Aging’s new Impact Collaborative aims to transform dementia care by providing $53.4 Million in funding to more than 30 research institutions. The project is now taking applications and will fund at least 40 pilot trials that will develop new treatments for people living with dementia. The goal is to use the increased funds and collaboration to then put the effective trials into practice within five years.
“The pipeline from science to implementation in real-world environments can take anywhere from 14-17 years,” Gaugler says. “There have been new developments in how we conduct trials, to really shorten that timeframe, and that’s what this whole collaboratory is about for dementia care.”
When Susan Roufs husband Don entered a memory care community for his dementia, she says his doctor helped her find care through a group study focusing on family/caregiver therapy.
“You can’t explain it. People say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I know what you’re going through.’ They don’t,” she said. “You go to these groups and they get you.”
Rouf says it transformed her ability to connect with her husband, but she soon realized how fortunate she was.
“I don’t know if there are any resources out there that can fill this gap of helping people more,” she said.
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