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February 20, 2011


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Good Luck with your project.
The area of care for those with dementia can definitely use some good PR and funding.

Mike donohue

Hat's Off!!!

How very important; how very significant; how badly needed to hear more of these new ideas. A new way of thinking about Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is sorely needed. Not only do we need new direction, as current circumstances will dictate, we will be required to find new direction in the way we care for those of us affected by AD.

The sign posts are everywhere. Cutbacks here, there, everywhere, deficit intolerance, tax cutting fervor, 2 years post democrat landslide republicans walk away with the election.

If you pause to look you can see anecdotal evidence behind the signposts any way you turn your view.

Reading the newspaper this morning there is report of the building gridlock in Congress over the House adopted budget cuts, stalemate in WI, a liberal Governor in MN proposing a budget cutting nursing home benefits for K-12.

Our near term future will be in continuous oscillations between right and left with the only result the balance between what we know as more gridlock, more political and economic stagnation.

Realistically Government will not; won’t; can’t; should not be relied on to fill any needs of AD. Our only hope is to do it alone, ourselves, in groups, in a grass roots way, finding innovative ways that produce results beyond palliative ones, results that not only help, but enhance both quality of life and economy in care for all of us affected by AD.

None of this now exists; economic worth is swirling down the drain to the profit taking practices fostered out of Washington, Wall Street, Big Corps, Big Pharma, Big Health Care Service, Big Health Care Insurance Industry, the list is endless. It is classed under Hi-Profit and Capital Growth Industry in the private sector subsidized by concerted lobbying outright subsidy and regulation out of Congress and the Bureaucracy.

It will be up to us on the local level, designing programs with efficacy and economy, utilizing the many tools we now have. What tools? To name but a few:

1. Religious, Altruistic, Issue Oriented Groups sponsored by and formed to help the people and not to raise money for Big Pharma and Big Health.

2. Neighborhood Co-ops and mutual aid groups to organize common services and care for all seniors with special emphasis on AD needs, seeking economy and competence available to members participating with a common building, development or neighborhood locale. This would be administered by participants and social service agencies.

3. Build the work of social service and like kind agencies with the counsel and cooperation of those AD affected to forming the kind of groups helpful in prolonging persons in early stage, caring for persons able to live at home, operating aiding and staffing small day care, assisted living and nursing home care in small, multiple, neighborhood settings, capable of serving the needs of the area in which it exists and accountable to the people it serves saving the high premiums incurred by uniform homogenized governmental regulation.

4. Form groups from Schools, Primary, Secondary, extended schooling, such as Trade School, Community College, College and Universities to serve. Start with curriculum emphasizing the responsibility to care, morally, spiritually, most of all in order to provide help in a learning environment for students. Follow through with devising, organizing and fielding programs to visit, to help, to attend and to staff the service of helping out.

Add to the curriculum, particularly in higher education levels, programs for serving the actual needs of people affected by AD, such as, Psychology, Social Science, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Education and, other relevant departments with the knowledge, background and management capability to form these programs ranging everywhere from introduction and follow up along with support groups to introduce, teach and maintain the coping skills of living with the disease.

Other groups would be Social, Intellectual and Creative groups stimulating via communication and program the many modalities now existing and those to be added and experimented with to both enhance and maintain quality of life for those affected.

5. A huge untapped resource is the many shrinking exurban, suburban and inter-city urban areas dedicated to the living and growing needs of families with children developed post WWII, and not is tragic decline. All that is left in them are the seniors who haven’t left home and can’t navigate the freeways and highways easily to fill their needs.

There are no services for them nor is their as yet a superstructure forming out of the vacant infrastructure to service this needs. It is too costly to build, as much to renovate. We need programs of renewal, a bold Urban Renewal Program out of Washington would be wonderful but is not to happen.

What we can do is use existing governmental and social organizations at lower level to form, manage and fund improvement making it economical to do. The result is neighborhoods in place, retail space available, both waiting for the other to come and make a marriage.

One possible funding source is the one we developed in the days of locally fostered public works using the local governments to write lower costing tax free bonds, providing programs for tax increment financing and all of the schemes the became unpopular after Morning In America dawned.

I will stop at five of an otherwise endless list of proposals that will provide Effectiveness and Economy in Care and benefit all of us as be left out in the street when the federal bank breaks!

Little is now being done, so much more needed, and after sufficient stagnation it will be required of us.

So hat’s off to what the folks are doing in Rochester, NY where the meeting and work reported in The Tangled Neuron was done.

Mike Donohue

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