ALA Unit/Subunit: ASCLA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
The Baby Boomer generation is aging and increasing numbers of Americans are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates 5.5 million Americans are currently living with a form of dementia and that related costs to the nation will top $259 billion in 2017. Already alarming, these numbers are predicted to soar. The federal government is finally realizing that we need to plan now for this coming explosion. To meet this need, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law in 2011 and calls for the creation of a national plan to coordinate research efforts, accelerate the development of treatments, and improve diagnosis and coordination of care among other activities. Individual states are also developing their own plans. More recently a nationwide initiative called Dementia Friendly America has emerged as “a multi-sector collaborative on a mission to foster ‘dementia friendly’ communities.” As leaders within our communities whose mission is to transform lives, librarians can take a proactive role towards improving the quality of life for persons living with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.
Now is the time for libraries to develop person-centered programing aimed at enriching the quality of life for this population. Studies increasingly demonstrate that the effects of dementia can be mitigated with regular, personal engagement. This program will highlight a number of concrete initiatives for programming and services that serve as successful models across diverse communities nationwide. Outreach and medical librarians will come away from this session with methods to serve their unique populations. State libraries and MLIS faculty will be stimulated to develop future plans for addressing the needs of this all too often forgotten population.