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N.D. receives grant to enhance Alzheimer’s support services

July 9, 2004

BISMARCK, N.D. – The federal government has awarded the North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Aging Services Division a three-year $261,150 grant to strengthen services for people with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementia.

North Dakota is among 24 states selected to share in the $6.78 million grant award announced today by federal Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

“This important federal funding will help North Dakota build collaboration between the medical community and other community service providers in order to promote early diagnosis, and to address the treatment and ongoing care needs of people with dementia,” said Department Executive Director Carol K. Olson.

Olson said that no state funds would be used to meet the grant’s $87,000 matching requirement.

The department must seek permission from the Emergency Commission to accept the funds because they were not included in the department’s legislative appropriation. The commission, which consists of Governor Hoeven, the secretary of state, the chairman of the Legislative Council, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee will probably meet again in September.

In North Dakota, about 6,000 people suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders, which affect memory and other cognitive abilities and render affected individuals dependent upon others for their well-being.

“Alzheimer’s is a devastating and costly disease,” said Aging Services Division Director Linda Wright. “People with Alzheimer’s are often admitted to nursing homes at younger ages and are admitted for much longer periods of time. This has a significant impact on families and on private and public health coverage programs.”

Wright said the proposal addresses service gaps, especially in rural areas.

In 2003, half of the 239 family caregivers who received respite, training, or support through the North Dakota Family Caregiver Support Program, were caring for people with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.

Developed with public input and the assistance of the Minnesota State Board on Aging, the grant proposal’s goals include: increasing identification and service to people with dementia and their caregivers, reducing caregiver stress, and lengthening community living.

The federal Alzheimer’s Disease Demonstration Grants to States are part of President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative and are intended to help strengthen access to home and community-based services for people with disabilities, to promote consumer choice, and to support family caregivers.


Linda Wright, Director, Aging Services Division(701) 328-4607, or Heather Steffl, Public Information Officer, (701) 328-4933


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