Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $150,000)
Through this proposal, Hope & Help for Wandering, our goal is to create safer East Texas communities for people living with dementia and other cognitive issues, such as Autism (ASD). This project will provide these most vulnerable groups and their caregivers with the support, protection, peace of mind and the quality of life they deserve. The Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County will be the lead agency in implementing this project, along with our partners outlined below.
Proposed primary activities:
Develop and implement a comprehensive campaign to increase the public awareness of wandering, educate on prevention strategies and promote and increase the number of individuals in East Texas enrolled in evidence-based programs, such as the Project Lifesaver Program.
Develop and implement a comprehensive education & training program for first responders, families of individuals who wander, schools, and other community partners. This would be accomplished through conducting web-based trainings, region-wide conferences, and collaborating with local junior colleges to embed training within first responder programs.
Develop and implement, in partnership with local first responders and 911 District, an alert program that identifies persons that are at risk for wandering or have a dementia or other cognitive diagnosis.
The primary service area for this project is Smith and Gregg Counties, as they are the most populated and the secondary service area includes those counties contiguous to Smith and Gregg. These include but are not limited to Anderson, Van Zandt, Cherokee, Harrison, Panola, Rusk, Upshur, Wood County, and Henderson. East Texas is primarily rural and the target audience is at an increased risk of injury and death due to the geography of this region. In addition, almost half of the proposed service area is designated as a qualified opportunity zone.
The primary beneficiaries of the project are the estimated 52,258 individuals living with some form of dementia in East Texas along with their families. In addition, approximately 2,000 children living with ASD or with the propensity to wander due to a cognitive condition.
Champions for Children – Implement outlined services as subcontractor in various East Texas counties for those with ASD.
East Texas Alzheimer’s Alliance – Implement outlined services as subcontractor in various East Texas counties for those with ADRD.
Other supportive agencies include, but are not limited to Tyler Junior College, East Texas Area Agency on Aging, County Sherriff’s Offices, 911 Districts, media outlets, and local police, fire and EMS departments.