The Cigna Foundation announced that is awarding a $196,000 World of Difference grant to the Alzheimer’s Association to support the development of a program dedicated to help early stage patients currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. LiveWell interactive E-Learning Program is meant to be a new and web-based educational tool to fight social isolation, raise awareness about the importance of having a social support network, and improve patients’ lifestyle.
“We’re providing a fresh approach to improving quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s. The new learning program uses a multimedia strategy, including video of people living with the disease, motion graphics and activity, to engage people and further amplify the education and support the Alzheimer’s Association offers 24/7,” explained the national director of early stage initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association, Monica Moreno.
“Our goal with the program is to help people remain active participants in their communities, maximize independence and well-being, and gain a sense of control over living with the disease,” Moreno added. Therefore, the association is going to start by conducting a research with early stage Alzheimer’s patients and other types of dementia, in order to assess what kind of program would offer the most assistance and improve quality of life, as well as their preferences regarding online program learning.
“It’s an honor and an inspiration for the Cigna Foundation to be able to help people with Alzheimer’s find ways to live a meaningful life despite the challenges of such a diagnosis,” stated the executive director of the Cigna Foundation, David Figliuzzi. “We’re excited to support an innovative program that will help people find ways to live their best life with the disease for as long as possible.”
The decision to engage in the LiveWell E-Learning program was based on the success of prior programs recently led by the Alzheimer’s Association, including the first national pilots of early-stage social programming in sites across the country during the spring of 2012. The organization ended up launching a national network of social engagement programs dedicated to patients in this stage.
In addition, in September 2013, the association released its single resource for dementia patients, “I have Alzheimer’s” at alz.org. And most recently, last May, the Alzheimer’s Association opened its first pilot telephone support group, designed to provide assistance to patients with limited access to the traditional types of support groups. Cigna also has a series of ongoing projects, including an awareness campaign on Facebook created for Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month by Cigna’s senior-focused subsidiary, Cigna HealthSpring.
“We are committed to helping our senior customers live life to the fullest, and part of that is providing the right resources to remain active and healthy as they age,” said the chief medical officer for Cigna-HealthSpring, Dirk Wales. “For example, Hazel Minnick, a remarkable Cigna-HealthSpring customer who has been living with Alzheimer’s since age 53, uses her Cigna-HealthSpring gym membership to stay mentally and physically fit. Hazel is an avid ballroom dancer and says the methodical movements of ballroom dance help keep her Alzheimer’s symptoms in check. We honor Hazel and all those living with Alzheimer’s.”