ALEXANDRIA, VA—Goodwin Living, a not-for-profit, faith-based, regional senior living and health care services organization in the National Capital Region, announced that it has received a grant of $324,907.73 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Civil Monetary Penalties (CMP) Reinvestment program to extend their brain health program, StrongerMemory, to residents in 100 nursing homes across Virginia. StrongerMemory is an evidence-based intervention that can improve cognitive function for people with mild cognitive impairment. The CMP grant is administered by the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS).
Created by Goodwin Living President and CEO Rob Liebreich, StrongerMemory was designed to help older adults alleviate symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and early-stage dementia. The program has been used by older adults since 2020, and research indicates that it works to reduce the effects of mild cognitive impairment and improve social engagement.
The CMP grant will cover the period of time needed to introduce and implement the program. For 12 weeks, multiple times each week, participants will spend 20 to 30 minutes a day engaged in simple reading, writing and math activities that are facilitated by a trained volunteer. During these initial 12 weeks, the nursing homes will track participation and effectiveness and join weekly support calls to troubleshoot challenges and share best practices. They will be given program tools to continue facilitating StrongerMemory groups beyond the initial 12-week period, as desired.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to share StrongerMemory with older adults in nursing homes across Virginia,” said Jessica Fredericksen, Goodwin Living’s director of brain health. “Research shows that doing simple math, reading aloud and writing by hand stimulates the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which plays an important role in memory retrieval and working memory. Older adults in nursing homes were increasingly isolated during the last few years due to the pandemic. The social connection provided through the StrongerMemory program will help reduce social isolation and increase cognitive health.”
Health Quality Innovators (HQI), a Goodwin Living partner, will recruit Virginia nursing homes and help them identify and train volunteers or staff members who will facilitate the StrongerMemory program. Participating nursing homes will receive technical assistance that includes program materials, observation and feedback, a weekly peer support call with other participating organizers and consultation on plans for sustaining the program beyond the 12-week introductory period.
The grant period runs from October 1, 2022 through June 30, 2025, and recruitment for participating nursing homes will begin this month. HQI will recruit three cohorts each year of the grant, and each cohort will have 12-17 nursing homes participating. By the end of the grant period in 2025, Goodwin Living will have launched StrongerMemory in 100 nursing homes across the Commonwealth. Goodwin Living and HQI will be recruiting in all regions of the state.
In April 2022, Goodwin Living partnered with the Maryland Department of Aging to launch StrongerMemory in senior centers across the state. Goodwin Living has also partnered with Village-to-Village Network, a national membership-driven organization that brings Villages together to provide support and care for 40,000 older adults, to offer the StrongerMemory program to older adults nationwide.
“Goodwin Living has made tremendous efforts to expand the StrongerMemory program to older adults across the country, and we’re excited to share the curriculum with our neighbors in Virginia,” said Liebreich. “Our team is looking forward to working with HQI to bring the benefits of StrongerMemory to more older adults, thanks to the support of CMS, DMAS and the CMP grant.”
StrongerMemory is available in both English and Spanish at no cost, which is made possible through donations to the Goodwin Living Foundation. The program can be downloaded directly from the Goodwin Living website at StrongerMemory.org.
The CMP is a federal fund collection of imposed penalties against certified nursing homes deemed non-compliant. The funds are used for projects that help protect and improve the quality of life and care for individuals in a nursing home.