Miami Valley Alzheimer’s Association Military Task Force Heralded as a Model of Collaboration

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The Miami Valley Alzheimer’s Association Military Task Force, created to assist local veterans with PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injuries who may be at risk of Alzheimer’s, is being promoted as a rising collaboration in the Air Force community.

Representatives from 59 Air Force bases, located in the United States, got an opportunity to hear about the collaboration when Dr. Cassie Barlow, leader of the Military Task Force, briefed Air Force community partnership programs from around the country on a teleconference on Sept. 19. The call, which was arranged by the Air Force Community Partnership Office in the Pentagon, highlights innovative community collaborations that involve U.S. Air Force bases.

Vince King, Community Partnership Program Manager at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, said the Community Partnership Program “is a framework through which installation and community leaders are developing creative ways to leverage their capabilities and resources to focus on achieving reduced costs by finding shared value. The AF process taps into the intellectual capital and innovative spirit of installation and community leaders to find creative ways to accomplish the Air Force mission and enhance communities.”

Barlow, who is a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter, said she wanted to “tell people around the country what is within the realm of the possible for communities to work together to assist their military and veterans…I’m excited that we will share our experiences with other communities across the country. I want to be able to help them and to get the word out that there is help available.”

Statistics show that 20 percent of veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder and or traumatic brain injuries. Of the group of veterans with either illness, there is a 60 percent greater chance that they could develop dementia.

With 200,000 veterans in the Miami Valley, this is an emerging community issue. That’s why the Alzheimer’s Association is collaborating with Wright Patterson AFB, Wright-Patt Credit Union and the Dayton VA Medical Center to help serve local military and veterans who are dealing with dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is one form of dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. By using the Association’s 24/7 Helpline at  800-272-3900 or going online at alz.org/Dayton, individuals can find a wealth of information about free services the Association provides or other available resources in the community. Veterans with dementia may be eligible for certain dementia care services such as in-home care, inpatient acute and long-term care services.

Since the Task Force’s launch in May, the Alzheimer’s Association has been working with the Dayton VA and Wright Patt’s Medical Center on how to refer clients to the Alzheimer’s Association and how to inform their patients about the Association’s services. Dr. Barlow, who is the former commander of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is excited about the potential of the collaboration. “I think we are on to something that is a really huge opportunity for our military, veterans and community,” she said.

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