- With Mayo Clinic health education outreach coordinator
Angela Lunderead biographyclose window
Angela LundeAngela LundeAngela Lunde is a dementia education specialist in the education core of Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer's Disease Research Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
The transfer of information about dementias, as well as understanding the need for participation in clinical trials, is an essential component of the education core.
Angela is a member of the Alzheimer's Association board of directors and co-chair of the annual Minnesota Dementia Conference. She is a member of the Dementia Behavior Assessment and Response Team (D-BART), a multidisciplinary outreach service assisting professional and family caregivers in understanding and managing difficult behaviors often present in dementia. She facilitates several support groups, including Memory Club, an early-stage education and support series, and more recently, helped to develop and now deliver Healthy Action to Benefit Independence and Thinking (HABIT), a 10-day cognitive rehab and wellness program for people with mild cognitive impairment.
Angela takes a personal interest in understanding the complex changes that take place within relationships and among families when dementia is present. She is particularly interested in providing innovative and accessible ways for people with dementia and their families to receive information and participate in valuable programs that promote well-being.
"Amid a devastating disease, there are tools, therapies, programs and ways to cope, and it is vital that families are connected to these resources," she says.
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Jan. 30, 2010
You can make a difference in Alzheimer's diagnosis, services
By Angela Lunde
Allan's recent guest posting — "A call for change in Alzheimer's diagnosis, services" — is generating a great deal of dialogue and it's clear that many of you share similar feelings and experiences.
Thank you, Allan, for your well crafted article that so many can relate to. As many of you note, we have an inadequate system of diagnosing, treating and supporting persons with Alzheimer's, and their families.
With the looming epidemic of Alzheimer's, drastic changes are needed and new approaches to early diagnosis and support must be implemented. There are, and will be, challenges. To all of you, thanks for the constructive conversation. Keep it going.
My colleague, Michelle Barclay, vice president of programs for the Minnesota-North Dakota Alzheimer's Association, offered the following response:
"There is tragically little funding for these interventions (support groups for early stage), and they are costly to administer. It's my belief that people need special training to lead such a group if the results are to be meaningful or therapeutic ... The Alzheimer's Association has in its strategic plan to develop more early stage support groups across the country ... over the next few years, more and more places will be creating early support groups.
"Like adult day, which was created over many years, it will take time. Adult day really did not take off in California until there was a reimbursement source. We need to figure out a way to get non-pharmacological interventions reimbursed or at least partially reimbursed for families."
A doctor I know and respect said recently, "If we accept that Alzheimer's presents only a terrible toll, providers naturally will avoid the diagnosis. If, however, we believe that it is only unrecognized and untreated Alzheimer's that causes the terrible toll, there is a reason to diagnose.
"(Without early diagnosis) you miss the opportunity to 'see' things while you still can. And you also miss the chance to design a future that accommodates your blindness. The difference is that with most other progressive diseases, you know what the problem is, where it is headed, and what you can do to maximize the time you have and minimize the adverse consequences ahead."
- We need to believe that short of a cure, the benefits of early identification and intervention are substantial to those with the disease and their families, as well as to communities as a whole.
- We must look for ways to provide immediate access to affordable insurance options for people with younger onset dementia to ensure that they receive early diagnosis and ongoing treatment and support.
- We need to ensure the availability of interventions aimed at improving disease knowledge and management, promoting overall physical and mental health, delaying progression of disease symptoms, and enhancing quality of life.
- And we must implement a systemic education strategy for physicians/medical providers that increases awareness and reinforces the benefits and incentives for early identification.
The unfortunate part in all of this is that it will take time, yet it's important for folks like you to know that you're being heard and the problem is being recognized. For now, I support and encourage people to be assertive in getting a diagnosis and advocating for programs and funding that can change the way we think about a diagnosis of Alzheimer's.blog index