Dementia Education Fund Created to Improve Patient Care, Research
Jo Hoyt Freeman was a daily source of inspiration to those around her. In all her roles—as a wife, mother, friend, teacher, and mentor—she enriched people’s lives with her bright mind and enthusiastic personality. Even now, after her death, she continues to inspire and help others by sharing the story of her struggle with dementia.
As the Alzheimer's Association looks to heighten global awareness this June during Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month (ABAM), the recently created Jo Hoyt Freeman Dementia Education and Outreach Fund aims to improve the quality of care for those with dementia. This fund will also significantly support educational outreach projects by the Hartford/Csomay Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence at the University of Iowa College of Nursing.
“Thanks to Claude Freeman’s exceptional generosity in creating the Jo Hoyt Freeman Dementia Education and Outreach Fund, the Hartford/Csomay Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence can extend its reach even further and create national models for excellence in care,” said Kristine Williams, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN, Sally Mathis Hartwig Professor in Gerontological Nursing and Director of the Hartford/Csomay Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence.
Mrs. Freeman once said, “If you have a memory loss … maybe you can listen to my story, and it would make a difference. It isn’t a fairy tale, nor is it a dream. It’s a story about a girl who had a very strange experience.”
The “strange experience” that she and her husband, Claude, confronted so bravely ultimately took her far away from those she loved, to a place in her mind that seemed unreachable. Mrs. Freeman, like so many others with dementia, eventually was lost in a world that no longer seemed familiar. Although this devastating condition eventually took her life, Mrs. Freeman’s story lives on, and her experiences are helping other patients and families who are living with dementia.
According to the World Health Organization, the total number of people with dementia worldwide in 2015 is estimated at 47.5 million. Additionally, the total number of new cases of dementia each year worldwide is nearly 7.7 million, implying one new case every four seconds. The number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 75.6 million in 2030 and 135.5 million in 2050.
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