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Memory care center in Tucson to benefit from $10 million gift to Banner Alzheimer's Institute

Memory care center in Tucson to benefit from $10 million gift to Banner Alzheimer's Institute

Lewy body dementias are the second-leading cause of dementia and are not always recognized or diagnosed, officials said. Patients and families commonly see different sub-specialists to address their care needs.

A charitable $10 million gift has been committed to Banner Alzheimer’s Institute for innovative dementia care and caregiver support for patients and families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders.

There are three institutes in Arizona, including the Toole Family Memory Center in Tucson. The other two are the Stead Family Memory Center in Phoenix and the Cleo Roberts Center at Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City.

The gift is from the family of the late J. Orin Edson to honor his memory, officials said in a news release. The Bayliner recreational boating company was established by Edson in 1957, and it became the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational boating. Edson died last year at the age of 87 of Lewy body dementia.

In addition to supporting a 24-7 Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support/Resource Referral Center for caregivers, the gift will support three other initiatives:

The J. Orin Edson Family Lewy Body Dementia Center that will be based at Tucson’s Toole Family Memory Center. The Toole center is at the southeast corner of North Hacienda del Sol and East River roads in the Catalina Foothills. Lewy body dementias are the second-leading cause of dementia and are not always recognized or diagnosed, officials said. Patients and families commonly see several different sub-specialists to address their unique care needs. The new center will serve as a centralized care site to address a wide range of medical and non-medical needs, including exercise and wellness services, family support and community education.

  • Peer-to-Peer Tele-Mentorship Program will allow renowned memory and thinking experts from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute’s specialty memory centers to support a wide range of physicians and other health-care providers.
  • Dementia Care Partners is a developing program that is intended to capitalize on the use of specially trained health coaches to ensure families and their care providers have access to the knowledge, resources and support necessary to maximize their quality of life after a diagnosis.

The investment will create new programs and expand existing services available to patients, officials said. “Alzheimer’s and related dementias take devastating tolls on patients and family caregivers as well,” said Doctor Eric Reiman, the institute’s executive director and Banner Research chief executive officer.

“The Edson family’s extraordinary investment will allow us to introduce new programs, further address our families’ needs, extend our reach across the state and country, and provide the highest standard of dementia care that every family deserves,” said Reiman.

Officials said that across the nation some 16 million people provide unpaid care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The often lonely experience can be long and exhausting.

Stay-home orders and social isolation due to COVID-19 have only increased these feelings among caregivers, according to surveys by the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s organization.

The number of people living with Alzheimer’s in Arizona is expected to grow by 43% by 2025, the national Alzheimer’s Association says.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@tucson.com or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar


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