WMU News

Alliance for Community Supports gets DCH grant

Aug. 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- The Alliance for Community Supports, an organization composed of Western Michigan University's Center for Disability Services, MRC Industries Inc. and Residential Opportunities Inc., will receive $240,000 in grants from the Michigan Department of Community Health as part of the department's Long Term Care Project.

The grants, which will be spread over three years, will be used by the Alliance to serve both senior citizens with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia and aging adults with life-long disabilities through its Alliance Senior Day Services program. Another $60,000 in matching grants will come from local sources. Gov. John Engler announced the grants in late spring.

The grant is part of a DCH effort to address the needs of adults who are in need of long-term care services and supports. The effort's goals are to effectively support people with long-term care needs and their families in home and community settings using a person-centered approach.

The Alliance Senior Day Services program meets those goals, says Sonya Scarff, program coordinator. Since the program concentrates on people with significant challenges, it creates an additional choice for family members ­ typically an adult child or a spouse of the person with Alzheimer's disease who needs to work during the day ­ by providing care during convenient times and offering education and outreach.

The Alliance program's goal is to provide supportive day services, consultation, and outreach to individuals with long-term care needs in the community. It is designed to help families care for a relative who may display behaviors that are disruptive while also helping people with life-long disabilities who are aging. The program meets medical, physical, and social rehabilitation needs of persons with disabilities and dementia in one center. Since these services can be provided on-site within the context of the program, quality, access, and cost-effectiveness are all substantially increased, Scarff explains.

"We provide care during the day and we have experienced physical and occupational therapists in the facility" Scarff says. "This means that physical therapy and occupational therapy appointments can be taken care of during the day, eliminating the need for separate appointments."

The Center for Disability Services at Western Michigan University is an integral part of the project, providing most of the staffing and on-site PT/OT services. This association ensures top-quality care, Scarff says.

In addition to CDS, WMU's Geriatric Assessment Center plays a pivotal role in the Senior Day Services center by providing clinical resources and comprehensive, family-centered, interdisciplinary assessments of clients.

Alliance Senior Day Services is located at 751 Pleasant Avenue in Kalamazoo and can be reached at (616) 387-2146. The Alliance for Community Supports is a non-profit organization created by three agencies in Kalamazoo: the Center for Disability Services at Western Michigan University, MRC Industries Inc. and Residential Opportunities Inc.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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