AlzU Blog

Students from the University of Southern California Offer Low-cost Alzheimer's Caregiving Services

The University of Southern California (USC) has launched a new program that offers affordable respite care services (provided by students) to help Alzheimer&r’s caregivers.

The pilot project started by The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s (YMAA),  offers 3 to 6 hours per week of low cost respite care—to give caregivers a break. 

The YMAA connects graduate students, from the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, with older adults diagnosed with dementia—in the early stages.  The organization’s mission is to fight social isolation and support AARP’s Aging in Place program.

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is the oldest, and largest Gerontology degree program in the world.  With a wide selection of research opportunities and a challenging academic environment, its considered a world-renowned program for the leaders in the Gerontology field.

The YMAA Respite Service Program

Respite services involve students spending time with people with dementia—from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other causes of dementia—socializing, playing games, and implementing art activities.  The UCLA Longevity Center’s Brian Boot Camp memory education program will provide the training for the students involved in providing respite care.

“With YouthCare, our goal is to engage young people and expand respite care access to caregivers who currently can’t afford it,” said Nihal Satyadev, the CEO & co-founder of YMAA. “Through this social enterprise, our organization is looking to fundamentally change the landscape of Alzheimer’s care and reduce the burden caused by this disease for families and our healthcare system.”

The Need for Caregiving Support

Over 15 million family members and friends of people diagnosed with AD (and other types of dementia) provide unpaid care for a loved one in the U.S.  Many caregivers experience a high level of emotional stress, financial issues, and physical challenges—at twice the rate of non-caregivers, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Research has shown that respite care benefits are twofold, lessening the burden of care for caregivers, and enabling the person with dementia to live at home (instead of moving to a senior living facility)  for a longer time span. 

“We hope to help build a robust intergenerational program that benefits the community, helps humanize the aging experience, and gives older adults a chance to spend time with young people who are engaged in improving aging and aging services today and in the future,” said Anna Quyen Nguyen, director of internship training at the USC Leonard Davis School.

Youthcare is funded by UCLA Geriatrics and the Eisner Foundation.  The organization has been successful at matching over 100 students with adults, in need of respite care, for over 3200 hours of care.  The program underwent an efficacy evaluation in which 87% of the caregivers who received help with caregiving tasks, said they felt a significant reduction in stress.

If you want to volunteer to help with Alzheimer’s disease,  consider contacting the Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s—the leading nonprofit in providing volunteer opportunities for high school and college students.  Visit the website by CLICKING HERE.

If you know someone who needs help with respite care, call 530-968-8466 or CLICK HERE to visit the website.

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