In the fist few months of 2022, we’ve been highlighting grantee partners who are expanding access to care and support services across Louisiana. This week, I’m sharing a video about The Bridge Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center, headquartered in Shreveport and serving patients and caregivers across northwest Louisiana.
The barriers to care in rural and remote areas extend beyond getting to a primary care doctor. They include shortages in nursing staff, health screenings, and access to mental health services.
The staff at The Bridge recognized a huge gap in services: there are an estimated 85,000 people living with dementia within a 75-mile radius of Shreveport, with 20% growth expected by 2025.
For caregivers and loved ones outside of an urban area, there are few options for screenings, education, and day-to-day support for those affected. The scarce resources have a compounding effect over time. A 2017 study in BMC Medicine finds that patients with cognitive spectrum disorders (such as Alzheimer’s and dementia), who are typically older adults, are more likely to have longer hospital stays, quicker readmission and mortality rates than their peers.
Local, compassionate care is critical. And so The Bridge is building partnerships and leading the way to grow the full spectrum of services available within the region.
The Bridge’s program stood out to us for two reasons. First, it was an excellent example of collaboration. Working with the Caddo Council on Aging and others, The Bridge brought data to the table that showed critical gaps in the region. Second, it was a terrific fit for our Special Projects grant program, which helps scale effective programs by establishing sustainable infrastructure for the delivery of much needed services.
We’ve funded other initiatives in this space, including a resource library at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area and investing in education for healthcare professionals treating cognitive spectrum disorders through the LSU Foundation. We are interested in exploring more programs providing support and mental services to aging Louisianians.
As always, if you have a project you’d like to discuss or want to learn more about grant opportunities, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
President, BCBSLA Foundation
Head of Community Relations