BLOOMFIELD, Conn., November 10, 2014 - Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease, with 11 million Baby Boomers currently at risk of developing the disease. More than five million Americans currently live with this progressive and ultimately fatal disease.* To help those living in the early stage of Alzheimer's and other dementias, and those who will be diagnosed in the future, the Cigna Foundation today announced a $196,000 World of Difference grant to the Alzheimer's Association®. The grant will be used to create the LiveWell interactive E-Learning Program, a new web-based education program to help people fight social isolation, understand the importance of a social support network, and live life to the fullest.
"We're providing a fresh approach to improving quality of life for those living with Alzheimer's. The new learning program uses a multimedia strategy, including video of people living with the disease, motion graphics and activity, to engage people and further amplify the education and support the Alzheimer's Association offers 24/7," said Monica Moreno, national director of early stage initiatives, Alzheimer's Association. "Our goal with the program is to help people remain active participants in their communities, maximize independence and well-being, and gain a sense of control over living with the disease."
As a first step, the Alzheimer's Association will conduct research among people living in the early stage of Alzheimer's and other dementias to better understand the programs and services they want to help them live well, and how they prefer to learn through online programs.
"It's an honor and an inspiration for the Cigna Foundation to be able to help people with Alzheimer's find ways to live a meaningful life despite the challenges of such a diagnosis," said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation. "We're excited to support an innovative program that will help people find ways to live their best life with the disease for as long as possible."
The LiveWell E-Learning program is based on the success of the Alzheimer's Association programs over recent years. In spring 2012, the Alzheimer's Association led one of the first national pilots of early-stage social programming in sites across the country, which led to the launch of a nationwide network of social engagement programs for people in this stage. In September 2013, the Association launched "I have Alzheimer's" on alz.org, a single resource for people living with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or another dementia worldwide. In May 2014, the organization completed the first pilot of a telephone support group for individuals in the early stage of Alzheimer's. This program was developed to deliver support to the growing number of individuals with limited access to traditional in-person support groups.
Additionally, Cigna's seniors' business, Cigna HealthSpring, created a Facebook awareness campaign during November for Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. "We are committed to helping our senior customers live life to the fullest, and part of that is providing the right resources to remain active and healthy as they age," says Dr. Dirk Wales, chief medical officer for Cigna-HealthSpring. "For example, Hazel Minnick, a remarkable Cigna-HealthSpring customer who has been living with Alzheimer's since age 53, uses her Cigna-HealthSpring gym membership to stay mentally and physically fit. Hazel is an avid ballroom dancer and says the methodical movements of ballroom dance help keep her Alzheimer's symptoms in check. We honor Hazel and all those living with Alzheimer's."
Read more about Hazel's story
*Alzheimer's Association data
About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation, founded in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work. The Cigna Foundation World of Difference grants provide support for improving children's wellness, senior care, women's health and health equity - the four social priorities for Cigna's corporate responsibility platform known as Cigna Connects.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 85 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
About the Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. Visit www.alz.org or call 800.272.3900.