VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Dementia Resource Fairs at VAPAHCS
Millions of Americans have some form of dementia, with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) being the most common. It is estimated that 5.4 million Americans suffer from AD; a large majority of whom are over the age of 65. Veterans age 65 and older are the fastest growing population served by the VA. It is expected that by 2017, of the 21.7 million Veterans receiving care from the VA, 10 million (46%) will be over the age of 65. As the size and proportion of the population age 65 and older continues to increase, the number of Veterans and other Americans impacted by dementia will continue to grow.
In service to our Veteran families coping with dementia, memory loss, or other cognitive impairment, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) Dementia Committee recently hosted its 3rd and 4th Dementia Resource Fairs. Over 360 Veterans, family caregivers, VA staff, and visitors attended this year’s events at VA Menlo Park and VA Palo Alto. These spirited events provided valuable information and resources on aging and dementia to all who attended.
Topics covered at the 2016 Dementia Resource Fairs included: Adult Day Health Care, Behavioral Management and Challenges, Caregiver Support Program, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Creative Experiences, End-of-Life Planning, Home and Community Based Care, Home Safety, Home Telehealth, Medication Management, Physician Consultation, Research Opportunities, Respite Services, Senior Safety, Suicide Prevention, and VA Police Service.
Additionally, several dedicated community partners were represented at the fairs including the Alzheimer’s Association, Family Caregiver Alliance, Institute on Aging, Stanford Health Library, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, County Veterans Service Offices, Social Security Office, and Public Utilities Commission. Volunteers from Massage Envy – Santa Clara provided massage therapy to attendees.
The VAPAHCS Dementia Committee thanks all who participated in the fairs and also those who work tirelessly to advance dementia care for Veterans. The Dementia Committee is co-chaired by Drs. Blake Scanlon (MIRECC) and Karen Wall (Extended Care). This year’s Dementia Resource Fair planning committee was co-chaired by Yoko Galbraith, LCSW (Extended Care), and Paul Nguyen, MSN, RN, GCNS (GRECC). Dr. Christine Gould (GRECC) is the lead author of a scientific manuscript discussing Dementia Resource Fairs that will appear in an upcoming issue of Federal Practitioner. The Dementia Committee is fueled by the commitment of dedicated VA staff across multiple health care disciplines who contribute to the VA mission every day by working to develop and integrate quality dementia care practices across VAPAHCS and connect Veteran families to services available to them.
For more information about dementia and resources available to Veteran families coping with a dementia diagnosis, please call the Stanford/VA Alzheimer’s Center at (650) 858-3915.