By Michelle Brown, LMSW


This year Wildwood Programs was invited, along with the Center for Disability Services, to partner with Eddy Alzheimer’s Services by their Education Specialist, Jennifer Harvey, MSW, CDP.  This opportunity to have a working collaboration in a 3 year grant funded program is exciting. The goal of the program is to teach and empower Wildwood staff to increase their knowledge of Alzheimer’s Dementia, increase their ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of dementia in people with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities and to develop and deliver a person-centered approach to both maintain each person’s independence and to cope with their changing abilities.

This program is currently being delivered in three phases.  In Year One, a “Train the Trainer” year was focused upon training Monica Hill, Assistant Director of Nursing at Wildwood, on the curriculum for this program and the use of the NTG-Early Detection Screen for Dementia.  This is not a diagnostic device, but a screen that can be used by caregivers to observe the functional decline of a person’s abilities. 

Year Two has begun and it entails offering six trainings for Wildwood staff and other collaborative agencies.  Year Three will offer continued trainings and scripted scenarios for specific programs to enhance their learning for the people in their site who may be experiencing dementia. Caregivers will also learn strategies about the use of memory aids, day to day care, preparation for continued declines in memory and functioning. An additional component will address self-care for dementia caregivers.

The opportunity to participate in this collaborative grant is timely. By increasing our awareness, understanding and expertise in this area, we will be better able to recognize early signs of dementia and utilize new skills to address changing abilities.

For additional information or to sign up for a training session, please contact Kari VanDenburgh, Director of Nursing at Wildwood via e-mail or 518-640-3361.

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