Copper Ridge Institute to get $100,000 grant

Research funds destined for memory-impaired care

December 03, 2003|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Copper Ridge Institute in Sykesville will receive $100,000 in federal funds to help it continue its research into caring for the memory-impaired.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski announced the grant during a tour of the facility yesterday.

Copper Ridge, an affiliate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is home to nearly 130 residents coping with varying degrees of dementia and memory impairment. Since its opening in 1994, it has worked to identify memory-impairment behavior and provide care while researching improvements in treatment.

Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, said she would like to see Copper Ridge's innovative methods and training programs implemented on a national scale.

"Copper Ridge is a Maryland treasure and a national opportunity to learn about this outstanding work," Mikulski said. "Its research is focused on caregiving. It is working with people to stretch out their ability to stay at home. This research saves families from the heartbreak and the cost of institutionalization."

Mikulski, whose father died of Alzheimer's disease, said she is keenly aware of the toll the disease takes on families caring for dementia patients. She called Copper Ridge a model that has developed the "technology of what works best."

"Families across the country are struggling with this disease," she said. "It doesn't matter if it's here or if it's Nancy Reagan - it is a 36-hour-a-day job."

The money will help fund educational activities and workshops for caregivers and family members, said the institute's executive director, Mark Pressman.

Nearly two-thirds of people in assisted-living homes suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia, often with caregivers who are not trained in the latest methods to enhance memory, said Dr. Constantine G. Lyketsos, co-director of geriatric psychology and neuropsychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

"We have to raise the level of care people are getting, and we do that with training," Lyketsos said. "This money is a real vote of confidence that we are doing the right thing from the senator, who has had personal experience with a person with dementia."

After a briefing on the latest technology in treating memory impairment, Mikulski toured one of the building's four identical wings.

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