WXXI AM News

Helping individuals with developmental disabilities who also have dementia

Jun 21, 2019

The local Alzheimer’s Association is involved in a pilot program designed to better serve people with developmental disabilities.

The Golisano Foundation is providing a $100,000 grant that will be used by Alzheimer’s Association chapters in the Rochester and Buffalo areas to help train providers who are serving older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Specifically, it’s aimed at helping that segment of the population that is also dealing with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

Teresa Gabier heads up the local Alzheimer’s Association and notes that as the size of the population of people 65 and older increases, the number of Americans dealing with the disease is also growing.

“And it’s just critical that providers understand and are able to support and serve those with developmental disabilities who are showing signs of dementia and are impacted by the disease,” Gabier said.

Gabier said that while studies show the prevalence of dementia among people with developmental disabilities appears to be about the same as the general population, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s is higher among adults with Down syndrome.

It’s hoped that this pilot program to train providers can be replicated in other communities.

This story was produced by WXXI’s  Inclusion Desk, focusing on disabilities and inclusion.