UofL experts on aging to guide Kentucky Alzheimer’s efforts

Anna Faul and Betty Shiels, PhD of the University of Louisville have been appointed to the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Council by Gov. Steve Beshear.

Faul and Shiels will serve terms on the council expiring in May 2019. The council’s 15 representatives help the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living identify ways to help Kentuckians with memory loss and their families. Council members include representatives from state government, local health departments and Alzheimer’s associations, as well as consumers, health-care providers and medical researchers.

Faul is the executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging (ISHOA) at the University of Louisville and the associate dean for academic affairs at UofL’s Kent School of Social Work. She also is a Hartford Faculty Scholar of the Gerontological Social Work Initiative, a national effort of the John A. Hartford Foundation to address gaps in social work education and research around the health and well-being of older adults.

“Only one-third of people with Alzheimer’s are properly diagnosed and that has a lot to do with awareness,” Faul said. “There needs to be a better way of delivering the diagnosis in a supportive environment. Once we have the diagnosis, the key is to create Alzheimer’s-friendly communities where these individuals and their families are supported and included.”

Shiels is the director of the Kentucky Person-Centered Care Program for Long-Term Care and the director of the Kentucky Emergency Preparedness for Aging and Long-Term Care Program, both administered through UofL’s Kent School of Social Work. She is the institutional director of the UofL Geriatric Education Center and manages the interprofessional training program in Alzheimer’s in collaboration with the UofL Department for Family and Geriatric Medicine, UofL School of Nursing, UofL’s Kent School of Social Work and Spalding University.

“My work focuses on improving quality of care and quality of life for those living in Kentucky’s nursing homes, of which 60 to 70 percent have Alzheimer’s or related dementia,” Shiels said. “It is impossible to separate nursing home care and Alzheimer’s disease.”

As members of the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Council, Faul said she and Shiels can work synergistically to promote the understanding, management and prevention of the disease.

 

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