United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Expands Dementia Initiatives with Support from the Fleming Foundation

Allentown, PA – United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV) announces that it has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Fleming Foundation to help improve the lives of Lehigh Valley residents who have Alzheimer’s and dementia, and for those who care for them. 

“The Alzheimer’s journey is a very long and difficult one for the patient and family caregivers. In loving memory of my mother Peggy Fleming, it is my hope that we can provide guidance and support to those affected so that their journeys are not any more difficult than they need to be,” remarked Trinka Arnold of the Fleming Foundation.

The local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that almost 25,000 individuals in the Lehigh Valley are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This number, which does not include undiagnosed cases, is expected to triple by 2050.

“As a public health crisis, dementia impacts healthcare systems, delivery of long-term care, worker shortages, community infrastructure, families and most importantly, the quality of life for people living with dementia,” said Carmen Bell, Director, Healthy Aging, UWGLV. “The Dementia-Friendly Lehigh Valley coalition, in partnership with UWGLV and Age-Friendly Lehigh Valley, is working to ensure organizations and individuals are equipped to support people living with dementia so they can remain in the community and engage and thrive in day-to-day living.” 

United Way will take action to build a dementia-friendly community that fosters quality of life for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Initiatives will focus on decreasing stigma, increasing opportunities for meaningful social interaction, increasing early diagnosis, and providing support in addressing the changing needs of people living with dementia. 

“United Way envisions an Age-Friendly Lehigh Valley where every person belongs and every person thrives. We want every person to have the opportunity to age successfully. Our plan will improve the quality of life for at least 6,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their caregivers,” added Bell.  

The four-year grant from the Fleming Foundation will provide funding to: 

  • Expand the Savvy Caregiver program to provide culturally responsive outreach and support to more individuals with dementia and their care givers in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Health Network Fleming Memory Center, St. Luke’s Senior Care Associates and Dr. Ken Hepburn of Emory University. 
  • Grow the community based, public safety program Project Lifesaver to protect more individuals with dementia who are at-risk of wandering in partnership with Bethlehem Health Bureau. 
  • Provide self-care and mental health training for professionals, caregivers and older adults to address the grief that comes with being a caregiver and for those experiencing the tremendous life change that comes along with dementia.
  • Equip healthcare providers and others with information about dementia to increase the number of individuals who receive early Alzheimer’s and dementia diagnosis, treatment and resources. 

“Because of incredible philanthropists in the Lehigh Valley, we are focused on solutions to our community’s greatest issues and needs. We could not do what we do without partners like the Fleming Foundation and the LVHN Fleming Memory Center,” remarked Paul Hurd, Chief Development Officer at UWGLV. 

For more information about Age-Friendly Lehigh Valley, click here.