Virginia Dementia Specialized Supportive Services Project

In 2015, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) was awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the Administration for Community Living under the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative—Specialized Supportive Services program to develop several innovative programs to support people living with dementia and their care partners and to work towards several goals of the 2015-2019 Dementia State Plan. Two of the programs resulted in replication manuals which are available below.   

Collaborative Care Coordination

The award-winning Collaborative Care Coordination Program presents a model of person-centered care coordination incorporating a relationship between a memory assessment and treatment clinic and a local Area Agency on Aging. In this case, the University of Virginia’s Memory and Aging Care Clinic collaborated with the Jefferson Area Board for Aging to deliver this program from Charlottesville, Virginia.

More than 200 individuals living with cognitive impairment and their caregivers enrolled in the program from across the state. Over the program period, participants reported fewer symptoms of depression, reduced caregiver burden, feeling better prepared for the future, and strong satisfaction with the program.

The program was awarded a Virginia Commonwealth Council on Aging Best Practice Award and an n4a (National Association of Area Agencies of Aging) Aging Innovation Award in the Health-LTSS Integration category.

Effective Strategies Program

The Effective Strategies Program is an educational and social program designed to support people living independently with dementia or cognitive impairment.

This is an evidence-informed program is adapted from a program delivered in Paris, France. The program consists of 18 sessions over nine weeks. Each session is 90 minutes, with an hour of instruction and 30 minutes of discussion and socializing over snacks.

Sessions are led by a variety of experts in fields such as psychology, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, art therapy, music therapy, and social work, and involved support from the Alzheimer’s Association.

The program was found to be highly valued and beneficial to the participants, who indicated high satisfaction in learning about memory and concrete strategies to help them continue to live independently in the community.