Gov. Susana Martinez
- Targeted Investment and Programs Designed to Improve Alzheimer’s Treatment and Care in Rural and Underserved Areas
SANTA FE — Today Gov. Susana Martinez announced nearly $100,000 in funding to greatly expand training for family caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
“Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia presents so many physical and emotional challenges,” Martinez said. “Caregivers often don’t know where to turn for help. Now, we will reach more caregivers throughout New Mexico and provide training and support as they continue caring for their loved one.”
The Savvy Caregiver class is a seven-week, evidence-based, ‘train-the-trainer’ course offered by the Alzheimer’s Association that teaches practical strategies for caregiving, and helps decrease caregiver stress. This effort is expected to create 50 new teachers of this course using primarily community volunteers throughout New Mexico. The number of classes offered and caregivers trained is projected to expand from about 30 classes and 330 caregivers last fiscal year, to about 115 classes reaching 670 caregivers in fiscal year 2015 and 150 classes reaching 1,000 caregivers in fiscal year 2016.
This funding through the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD) is targeted to increase knowledge and skills for caregivers particularly in New Mexico’s rural and underserved communities.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are about 34,000 New Mexicans, aged 65 and older, with Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to increase to 53,000 by 2025. It estimates there are currently about 105,000 caregivers in the state.
Martinez also announced today a streamlined process for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias to get information about services and help. People who need information can now call the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). Staff at the center will offer callers seeking information about caregiving for Alzheimer’s or related dementias further information from the New Mexico Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association regarding available services.
“Our staff at the ADRC is trained to listen for specific key words regarding dementia so that we can make it easier for caregivers in New Mexico to get the help they need,” ALTSD Cabinet Secretary Gino Rinaldi said. “We are continuing to implement Governor Martinez’s New Mexico State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias by centralizing information to help connect people to resources, such as the Savvy Caregiver classes.”
In the summer of 2013, Governor Martinez announced the creation of the Director of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care position within ALTSD, dedicated to coordinating services, research, and public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The creation of the position is another part of Governor Martinez’s Alzheimer’s plan, which confronts the growing challenges posed by Alzheimer’s in New Mexico.
The ADRC can be reached toll free at 1-800-432-2080 between the hours of 7:45 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Information about the Savvy Caregiver classes can be found here.