Mayor Walsh announces City of Boston Alzheimer's Initiative
July 11, 2014
Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the City of Boston’s Alzheimer’s Initiative, which includes “dementia capable” training for city employees and volunteers and the city’s membership in the national Alzheimer’s Association® Workplace Alliance. The multi-faceted initiative will offer information and support services to people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, and raise awareness about the importance of early detection of the disease. Mayor Walsh will also serve as the honorary chair of the Greater Boston Walk to End Alzheimer’s® this September.
“This is personal for me -- my grandmother had Alzheimer’s and I saw firsthand the toll it takes on a family, and the love and patience that is required to care for someone with the disease,” said Mayor Walsh. “Together we can make Boston a supportive place for people affected by Alzheimer’s, and give family members the knowledge, understanding, and tools to cope with what can be a difficult situation.”
As part of the initiative the City of Boston has joined the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance, formerly the Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance, a group of nearly 2,000 leading companies and organizations that have stepped up as leaders in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. As a member, the City of Boston is committed to connecting its17,000 employees to support and information on the disease, educating employees about the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, the importance of early detection, and the resources available to help them. Boston Medical Center, Northeastern University and the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District are also part of the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance.
“Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston have taken a huge step in addressing a health care issue that increasingly impacts us all,” said James Wessler, president/CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, MA/ NH Chapter. “Since Boston is an international hub for Alzheimer’s research and programs, it’s only fitting that Boston become the first major American city to join the Workplace Alliance. Education and support can make a significant difference in the quality of life for those living with the disease, and their families.”
The City of Boston is also committed to working with the Alzheimer’s Association to provide training to city employees that have direct and regular contact with individuals that may have Alzheimer’s. Over the next two years the City of Boston will train staff at the Boston Police Department, Emergency Medical Services, the Boston Fire Department, Boston Housing Authority, and the Elderly Commission to be “dementia capable.” Volunteers with the Elderly Commission’s 55+ RSVP program, will also be trained to provide respite services to caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
“The majority of care for people with Alzheimer’s disease is provided at home by informal caregivers – spouses, adult children and others,” said Commissioner Emily Shea. “Accessible respite services are an important piece to the caregiving puzzle.”
This year, Mayor Walsh will serve as honorary chair of the Greater Boston Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, September 28, 2014. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.