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Alzheimer's Foundation of America Awards Innovation Grant

South Carolina Organization to Create Dementia-Friendly Community Pilot Project

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - July 17, 2014) - The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) today announced that it has awarded its 2014 Brodsky Innovation Grant to Memory Matters, a local nonprofit organization based in Hilton Head, S.C., for its forward-thinking "Dementia-Friendly Communities Initiative."

Memory Matters will use the $25,000 grant to take a fresh look at how communities can be optimized to better support the needs of residents with dementia. It will plan and implement a pilot project that delivers dementia-friendly education and training with an eye toward making local services and facilities more accessible and accepting for families affected by dementia. It includes training local business owners on how to recognize and understand dementia-related behaviors, and communication and other strategies to assist customers with memory loss.

AFA awards the Brodsky Innovation Grant annually to one of its nonprofit member organizations for a groundbreaking program or service that improves the lives of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their families. The program must be unique, fulfill a great need within the community, and demonstrate potential for replication.

"Memory Matters embraced the intent of this grant. Their desire to raise awareness of the disease so that people with dementia can feel safe and be more incorporated into the community addresses a critical need, not only in Hilton Head, but across the country," said Bert E. Brodsky, AFA's chairman, for whom the grant is named.

The "Dementia-Friendly Communities Initiative" aligns with Memory Matters' desire to be a center of excellence for persons with all types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, and their families by providing day programs, support services, brain exercise classes, and education in a compassionate and dignified manner.

"Because we are, primarily, a resort community, people here don't have the lifelong support system and safety net that others who have lived in the same place for many years may have," said Edwina Hoyle, executive director of Memory Matters. "We hope to educate people so we can get rid of the stigma associated with dementia and, through creating a supportive community, help people remain in their homes longer."

Memory Matters will develop a marketing plan and conduct focus groups with local businesses and individuals before kicking off the pilot training program. The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and the mayors of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton have expressed their support for the initiative, the group noted in its grant application.

The agency serves families in southern Beaufort County and Jasper County in southeastern South Carolina-areas in which both the older population and the number of cases of Alzheimer's disease have been increasing in recent years.

In addition to the Brodsky Innovation Grant, AFA awards grants for respite care and program enhancement to its nonprofit member organizations nationwide. To learn more, visit www.alzfdn.org, or call 866-232-8484.

About Alzheimer's Foundation of America: The Alzheimer's Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national non-profit organization that unites more than 1,700 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free hot line, staffed by licensed social workers; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training, along with teen- and college student-specific divisions. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, and "like" us on Facebook

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