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Hope for families, knowledge for everyone

The physical needs of older adults are universal, but every culture offers its own unique insights and approaches into how we age. Bader Philanthropies has a longstanding interest in the diverse people of Israel, and since 2009 has forged collaborations to bring some of the best ideas from throughout the world together in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

The Need: Local innovations can help fight Alzheimer’s worldwide

Today, more than 100,000 Israeli adults live with Alzheimer’s, a number that is expected to reach 120,000 by 2020. To counter the rise, we are working to replicate some of Wisconsin’s most innovative approaches to aging that we have been nurturing over the past two decades. Through more than $2 million in grants so far, we have helped select groups of Israeli partners enhance their own work. We have linked together to address some of their unmet needs and launch new efforts to increase understanding of a misunderstood disease.

Our Approach: Comfort at home and in the community

We are eager to connect partners from both sides of the Atlantic to find solutions that fit Israel’s unique demographics and diverse cultures. Since the distance to Israel means we can only support a handful of new projects each year, we focus our efforts solely on the availability of home- and community-based care for older adults with Alzheimer’s. Not only does this help lessen the burden on families, it enables us to further educate and train family and professional caregivers.

By fostering new ideas and raising the bar for Alzheimer’s care, we are also helping to fuel far-reaching research into the disease. The older population of Israel has genetic links that circle the world, which provides us with a unique opportunity to learn more about Alzheimer’s worldwide.

For example, leading researchers at Sheba Medical Center have teamed up with our Wisconsin network to create the Israel Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention. This long-term study tracks the health of adult volunteers who have at least one parent with Alzheimer’s disease, with a focus on identifying the causes of this mysterious illness.

Our Impact: First steps in a coordinated push

The Foundation is working to bring creativity to the older adult setting. We have brought together noted experts in the field of aging from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Israeli institutions to share how they blend storytelling, reminiscence, and creative exercises to engage older adults who have memory loss.

Over the past two decades, we have enjoyed an ongoing relationship with Melabev-Community Clubs for the Elderly, a leading provider of adult day services in diverse communities in Israel. With our support, Melabev is expanding its reach in immigrant and Arab Israeli communities where cultural misunderstandings of Alzheimer’s often pose barriers to asking for help.

Raising awareness and spurring action across cultural lines is the next step. We have worked with the national Alzheimer’s Association of Israel on a comprehensive plan to address the various social, financial and health aspects of the disease. While Israel does not face the same swell of aging Baby Boomers as the U.S., its older adults with dementia have a significant family impact in a nation of 7.7 million. With the best ideas from throughout the world, we can bring those families a sense of understanding – and in turn, hope.


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