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Featured Business: Anette Asher and the Glenner Memory Centers

Anette Asher

As a follow up to our recent article on innovations in dementia care, we thought it was the perfect time to introduce you to the Glenner Memory Care Centers.  They are a 33-year-old organization serving  family caregivers and loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other Memory Disorders.   The Glenner Adult Day Programs and caregiver support groups offer another forward thinking solution to those needing care solutions.   We sat down with Glenner’s CEO Anette Asher to bring you details on their care model, which is breaking new ground for those effected by dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Outside of being CEO of Glenner, Anette is also Chairman Emeritus of the Board for Sharp Healthcare Foundation, past Board of Directors for Sharp Healthcare Systems (a $2.3B hospital system). In June 2011, she was recognized as one of 20 “Women who Rock San Diego” by San Diego Metro.  A recent article on her can be found here: http://sandiegometro.com/2011/06/women-who-rock/.

Anette’s passion for healthcare and raising the bar on quality of care are forefront for our senior citizens. She is dedicated in the convergence of life sciences, healthcare, and IT in her active roles on the Southern California HIMSS Chapter as Board of Directors, Board of Advisors for Everything Channel’s Healthcare IT Summit, Board of Directors for the exclusive Healthcare Security Alliance, and Board of Advisors at Cal State San Marcos Healthcare IT programs. Anette was on the Board of Advisors for UC San Diego’s Academic Geriatric Resource Center (AGRC) from 2012 to 2013.

Anette is also  a member of the POWer Women’s Network, which is an exclusive group of 75 senior executive women in San Diego and Orange County in Life Sciences and Healthcare who come together to address contemporary issues, support business development and collaborations amongst their peers and companies.  She is on the Executive Committee of the San Diego Senior Alliance, a loosely formed organization of 20 CEO’s who provide Long Term Supports and Services (LTSS) throughout San Diego County.

Below we feature our recent interview with Anette about her work with the Glenner Memory Care Centers.

Please tell us about the services offered by the Glenner Memory Centers.

The mission of the Glenner Memory Care Centers is to provide comprehensive care to families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. We do this through adult day programs and caregiver support.

Our three centers offer dementia-specific adult day care programs Monday through Friday. Each center provides therapeutic activities and socialization in a safe, structured, family-like environment. Our highly trained staff boasts decades of experience working with those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. We understand the enormous stress that accompanies managing these diseases and the role of a family caregiver, which is why we seek to give them the break they need.

We also provide supportive services to the family caregivers because we know that caregivers are often overwhelmed, overstressed, and unfortunately, overlooked. While the spotlight is often shined on the person with dementia, caregiver health is just as, if not more, integral to the well being of the family. We offer free support groups to caregivers of those with dementia regardless if they utilize our day programs. We also provide individual counseling, crisis management, and referral services to all of our families.

How many clients do you serve and are there any admissions criteria to receive assistance from the Glenner Memory Centers?​

Here’s a breakdown on how Glenner served our families last year:

  • 2,579 caregivers attended Glenner’s support groups.
  •  1,338 hours of free day care were provided during support group meetings.
  • We held 17 support group meetings per month.
  •  2,316 caregivers received individual counseling.

Our day programs require an intake process. During this initial meeting, the program directors are able to learn more about the participant and the caregiver. We understand that enrolling a loved one into a day program is not an easy decision, which is why our staff works tirelessly to make the transition as smooth as possible. We also have support groups open to any caregiver of dementia. A few of our support groups even provide free adult day care for the duration of the support group.  Please visit www.glenner.org/supportgroups for more information.

What are your goals for the Glenner Memory Centers in 2015?

Our goals are to expand our reach and voice throughout the County.  There are many choices out there. Yet, we find that with the Affordable Care Act and Medicare, while taking on thousands of new enrollments, neither our Governments nor our seniors know about this great alternative for care that is by far the most affordable of options.  Many families think they have no choice but to transition directly into assisted living.  We like to partner with home care agencies to provide expanded services that combine in-home care in the mornings, time during the day at Glenner, and then back to in-home care in the evenings.  Giving the participant and the family a full day of personalized care and attention is a win-win.  The participant has the best direct care and the family gets peace of mind and a break from the 24/7 intensity of provisioning for their loved one. 

How do the services you offer differ from the services offered by the Alzheimer’s Association?

Glenner not only provides direct care in both an Adult Day Care Program, but also in Adult Day Health Care.  We are the only dementia specific non-profit in the County with 33 years of service.  By providing more than 150,000 hours per year of direct care, we have seen it all from both the family’s point of view and the hands-on direct caring for our beloved participant.  It’s one thing to be book-learned, it’s another to be hands-on day-to-day.  There are nuances, indications, and approaches we know that we could actually “write the book” on caring for those affected by dementia.  We facilitate 17 support group meetings each month.  Most of those are in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association.  But there are other forms of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s in the population we serve, therefore we are able to provide a broader understanding to our families than just one form of memory loss.

How do you see working with geriatric care managers to benefit your clients?

Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, is a complex and highly challenging malady that requires diligence and knowledge that can only come from those experienced in geriatrics.  For instance, we like to teach clinicians and care managers about the five D’s that present confusing symptoms, can be misdiagnosed and worse, can be treated with the wrong interventions.

The five D’s are: Dementia, Delirium, Dehydration, Drugs, and Depression.  Geriatric care managers have a better sense and knowledge in understanding the dynamics of the aging process such as the biology of absorption, metabolism and side effects of medications in an 80 year old that can be completely different than a 40 year old.

For more information on the Glenner Memory Care Centers, please visit their website at: www.glenner.org.

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