YouthCare: Low-cost inter-generational care for those with dementia
The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s
YouthCare is the most affordable intergenerational respite and memory care program that partners trained college student volunteers and persons with early-stage dementia in a community-based setting.
What does your organization do?
The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s is the national leader in providing students opportunities to engage in the fight against Alzheimer’s through advocacy, volunteering, and research.
Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.
YouthCare is the most affordable intergenerational respite and memory care program anywhere. For three hours, twice a week, student-senior pairs play games, participate in artistic activities, and deliver the research-backed Brain Boot Camp to help address cognitive decline. If our program reaches 17% of Angelenos with dementia and allows them to age at home for just two more months, we will save the healthcare system five-billion dollars.
Which of the live metrics will your activation impact?
- Healthcare access
- Rates of mental illness
- Residents receiving coordinated healthcare services
Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?
- LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- County of Los Angeles
How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?
- Trainings and/or in-person engagements
- Influence individual behavior
- Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
- Attract elder Angelenos out of their homes in order to address issues of social isolation associated with aging and cognitive decline.
Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to live?
One of the most difficult realities of a dementia diagnosis is that there are no effective treatments for the disease, nor is there a cure. We do, however, have the opportunity to mitigate the difficulties of its decline. As the rates of this disease double in the next twelve years, effectively bankrupting our healthcare system, cities that implement avant-garde solutions to address its care will be ones that stand out in the international challenge to solve what is likely to be the greatest public health crisis of modern history.
Traditionally, the effort to seek solutions for this disease has been limited to the elderly generation, but we are rapidly bringing the realities out of the shadows and injecting intergenerational innovation.
The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s (YMAA) offers a novel, inexpensive solution to provide respite care services to the Los Angeles Community: YouthCare. YouthCare is an intergenerational respite-care program that partners trained college student volunteers and older adults with early-stage dementia in a community-based setting. For three hours, twice a week, they play games, participate in artistic activities, and deliver the research-backed Brain Boot Camp, developed by the UCLA Longevity Center to help people compensate for age-related cognitive decline. Students and seniors are paired based on similar interests and hobbies, creating a unique mentor-mentee relationship.
YouthCare has been recognized by MIT, UCLA, and the Clinton Global Initiative. Most recently this model won openIDEO’s care for dementia challenge, which received 250 applications from around the world, and Social Venture Partners LA Fast Pitch 2018.
YouthCare is built on a 2 year pilot with UCLA Geriatrics. Our caregiver waitlist was at more than four times capacity, with more applying to volunteer than we could accept, and most importantly, three-quarters of caregivers said this program alone was all the break they needed - a key finding in our efforts to reduce caregiver depression rates. One hundred percent of students reported that they would recommend this program to a friend, and many seniors with Alzheimer’s provided anecdotal evidence that they had found purpose once again in their lives. With just six hours a week, we found a win—win—win for older adults with dementia, their caregivers, and students, who now have a skill development opportunity to work with our growing aging population.
YouthCare is the least-expensive respite-care option. Research shows that respite is critical to keeping loved ones at home longer. In fact, 2-4 years of YouthCare costs are comparable to just one month of nursing home costs. If YouthCare reaches 17% of Angelenos with dementia and allows them to age at home for just two more months, we will save the healthcare system five-billion dollars. YouthCare has launched our pilot program at USC. With an investment from LA2050, we can bring this model to several other colleges and communities in LA county.
How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to live
Our program provides positive benefits for Angelenos affected with dementia, their family members, and students. Our ability to reach the maximum number of Angelenos requires three key steps, all of which we are working towards addressing already.
First, our program must become an insurance waiver program. We are currently applying become a Medicaid waiver program and speaking directly to major care partners in LA - AltaMed, LA Care, Care1st, and Kaiser.
Second, we must have a robust referral system. We have secured relationships with several LA nonprofits and city entities to spread the message into the community and we will continue to grow the depth of these relationships.
Finally, we are working on a mobile based technology which will allow students and caregivers to know about when and where programs are held, serve to hold our training modules, and create an easy payment system. We have started developing the scaffolding of this application, which is being developed at industry standards to meet HIPAA compliance.
We are confident that these three strategies are the most important to succeed because we have personally surveyed over 130 caregivers, from various ethnic backgrounds and income levels, asking pointed questions about what factors in relation to our program are most likely to convince them to use our services.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.
Our program addresses three key demographics: students, older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and their caregivers. We plan to measure our success based on the qualitative feedback from these three groups, as well as our quantitative impact.
We plan to measure success qualitatively through the use of surveys that indicate participant satisfaction and feedback. We currently provide students and caregivers entrance, mid, and exit surveys in order to assess the quality of the program and to see if we are effectively engaging students. For caregivers, these surveys include questions such as: Do you feel the programming in our model is effectively engaging your loved one? How can we improve this programming? How significantly does participating in our program lead to a reduction in your stress levels? With these surveys, we can gauge how well our program is meeting the needs of our participants, as well as discover ways to improve and further serve our community.
We plan to measure our success quantitatively by addressing several factors: the number of hours of care provided to seniors as well as respite provided to caregivers, the amount of money we are saving Medicaid/Medi-Cal, and the amount of money we are saving the individual families. We also plan on creating a research committee to assess how many months YouthCare increases aging at home to offset the cost of long-term care costs. Through this, we can prove how our program is improving our community.
Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?
In 5 years, we plan to transform access to care in Los Angeles to seed it as the world’s leader in respite care provision. Our organization is connected with national and international leading Alzheimer’s nonprofits, and all of them have remarked that our organization has been the first to create this unique intergenerational social enterprise. We believe we can scale rapidly to at least forty of the one hundred and one colleges in LA county – servicing over 1000 Angelenos annually. For each senior that we service, we will also be inspiring another student to enter fields of Alzheimer’s and Aging. Our confidence stems from our development of a strong referral system that expands into all parts of the county and because we are investing in the development of mobile-based technology that will seamlessly bring together students and seniors and lower our cost-to-client by 33% in the next three years.
The success of our activation is also directly tied to the success of our organization as a whole. The extra revenue which we drive from our social enterprise can go on to fund our other initiatives. In just the past three years, our almost all volunteer team has designed the first ever study to assess the effect of dementia care on high schoolers (IRB Approved), drafted bipartisan legislation to create a CA Care Corps (AB 2101 - in committee), become the national leaders in high school and college Alzheimer’s advocacy, and created our own research scholarship program. Imagine what we can do with even more developed infrastructure.
YMAA is uniquely aligned to bring this expansion to care access because no other for-profit care company can ever match our cost, and no other traditional Alzheimer’s nonprofit has our ability to reach the younger demographic. We’ve spent the time developing a grant funded model, we’ve learned lessons from our social enterprise pilot, and now we are ready to change the world of Alzheimer’s care. With your investment, and our team’s passion, together, we can create a future worth remembering.
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