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Pennsylvania Nonprofit Organization to Create Dementia Rehabilitation Therapy Program

NEW YORK (July 15, 2013)—The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) today announced that Phoebe Ministries, a multi-facility organization based in Allentown, Pa. that provides continuum of care communities and services for senior adults, is the recipient of its 2013 Anne & Irving Brodsky Grant.

The nonprofit group will use the $25,000 award to create a comprehensive rehabilitation program that engages individuals with dementia in occupational, physical and speech therapies appropriate to their cognitive abilities, interests and needs.

AFA awards the Anne & Irving Brodsky Grant annually to one of its non-profit member organizations for an innovative service or program that improves the lives of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other related illnesses, and their families. The program must demonstrate innovativeness, greatest need and replication potential.

“Phoebe Ministries’ unique approach truly captures the spirit of the Innovation Grant and exemplifies the type of creativity necessary to address the current Alzheimer’s disease crisis,” said Bert E. Brodsky, AFA’s chairman, for whom the grant is named. “It’s exciting that it fills a gap by building on the strengths, rather than the weaknesses, of people with dementia.”

The Phoebe Dementia Rehabilitation Program utilizes standardized cognitive assessment to establish an individual’s preserved skills. Then, an interdisciplinary team of physical, occupational and speech therapists and a psychologist establish a customized program of familiar, enjoyable and functionally-based activities based on “life review” information from family members, Montessori-based engagement methods and person-centered care planning – all best practices in dementia care.

“Too often, individuals with dementia are not effectively engaged in traditional occupational, physical and speech therapies. Our new rehabilitation model has shown promise in addressing underlying physical impairments, while creatively engaging the individuals in a manner that accommodates cognitive losses due to dementia,” said Kelly O’Shea Carney, Ph.D., executive director of the Phoebe Dementia Care Center of Excellence, which provides integrated care for people with dementia and their families at Phoebe Ministries campuses and in the community.

Historically, many people with dementia are deemed ineligible for therapy or prematurely discharged from programs. This occurs because they may have difficulty understanding and processing some of the fundamental activities associated with therapy, including following directions or independently executing tasks or exercises, Phoebe Ministries noted in its grant application.

In advancing the conceptual model into practice, Phoebe Ministries plans to develop activity kits and research and administrative protocols, as well as create video and printed educational materials to spread the method and associated techniques to rehabilitation staff at its four continuing care retirement communities in Eastern Pennsylvania. Ultimately, it intends to train other long-term care and rehabilitation providers in this model.

The grant recipient hopes that this new approach to rehabilitation will improve clinical outcomes in people with dementia and improve the capacity of therapists to work effectively with this population.

In addition to the Anne & Irving Brodsky Grant, AFA awards grants through a competitive application process to its nonprofit member organizations nationwide for family respite care and to enhance programs or services in their communities. To learn more about these programs, visit, or call 866-232-8484.

About the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA):
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national non-profit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free helpline, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484, visit , follow us on Twitter at , or connect with us on Facebook

Contact: Amanda Hirschhorn
Phone: 866-AFA-8484

Alzheimer's Foundation of America  866.232.8484