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UMRC-Foundation-logo(Chelsea Update would like to thank Stacey Olsen for the information in this story.)

United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) Foundation has received a two-year grant of $495,050 from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, aimed at benefiting the health and wellness of Michigan’s older adults.

This grant will support a pilot training program at UMRC’s Towsley Village Memory Care Center.

Positive Approach™ is an innovative, medically-proven care giving program designed to improve quality of life and reduce stress for those with dementia and their caregivers.

“Adults with Alzheimer’s disease may become agitated or aggressive as the disease progresses,” says Ashley Martin, Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC) executive director in a press release.

“At times, these behaviors can even require hospitalization which is traumatizing for everyone,” she says, adding, “Through the Positive Approach™ training, we will empower our caregivers and families with the tools they need to provide a calming environment and reduce or avoid behavioral challenges for our residents with dementia.”

Martin says, “We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund which allows us to provide this training, and delighted to welcome Positive Approach™ founder Teepa Snow to our Chelsea campus in May during Dementia Awareness Week.”

This grant also supports UMRC in becoming a certified Positive Approach™ train-the-trainer site.

“In year two of the project, we look forward to partnering with other senior care organizations to offer training for caregivers and families throughout the region,” she says.

This training is especially important in Michigan which currently ranks 10th in the country in the number of older adults living in the state. While Alzheimer’s disease is not part of the normal aging process, the prevalence and likelihood of the disease increases with age.

In Michigan, the Alzheimer’s Association expects to see a 22-percent increase by 2025 in the number of adults who develop this disease, the 5th leading cause of death among adults 65 and older.

With the Positive Approach™ focus on intervention, preemptive care, and caregiver education, “this grant is a game-changer for UMRC,” says UMRC President and CEO, John Thorhauer.  “Positive Approach™ training will allow our staff to provide the highest quality of care for residents and their families, and to be a much-needed resource for dementia care in our area.”   

Michigan Health Endowment Fund CEO, Paul Hillegonds says, “At the Health Fund, we recognize that supporting older adults means also supporting those who care for them.”

He says, “Caregivers and families play a crucial role helping seniors who suffer from dementia, and that often means doing a lot with minimal time, resources, and assistance.We’re proud to partner with UMRC to implement the Positive Approach™ program, an innovative and replicable solution with great potential to help Michigan’s older adults as well as their caregivers.”

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