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Mercy Care Teams up With Oakwood Creative Care To Support New Dementia Hub, Address Unique Challenges of Dementia Care
By Justin Liggin - Thursday Nov 09, 2023
Mercy Care, a local nonprofit Medicaid health plan, awarded a $400,000 community reinvestment grant to Oakwood Creative Care to support people living with dementia, improve their access to social activities and create meaningful opportunities for engagement and emotional support.

Welcome to the Dementia Hub, a central source of dementia support in Arizona where you’ll find Memory Cafes, support groups, engagement activities, resources, connections, and educational opportunities.

“This collaboration with Oakwood Creative Care demonstrates Mercy Care’s unwavering commitment to improving the lives of the members and families we serve,” said Mercy Care CEO Lorry Bottrill. “We partner with organizations that further our mission that everyone, particularly those who are underserved with complex health needs, deserves to live a healthier life, and achieve their full potential.”

Mercy Care awarded Oakwood the funding through its Mercy C.A.R.E.S. Community Reinvestment grant program to address Arizona’s fast-growing number of aging adults and their related health concerns. By 2025, Arizona is expected to have one of the fastest growth rates of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) in the U.S.

The Dementia Hub addresses some of the common challenges that families face when caring for a loved one with memory impairment. It features a coaching program that pairs occupational therapists, family support specialists and physician assistants with caregivers to guide families on ways to provide the best care in a home setting. It also houses a dementia-inclusive community center, where people living with dementia and their caregivers can connect with others over coffee, participate in support groups and self-care classes, and attend special events. And, the hub offers training and education classes for workforce professionals to better understand dementia and address challenging behaviors without relying on unnecessary medication or institutionalization.

“All of these offerings aim to improve seniors’ mental health, wellness and overall abilities to achieve self-sufficiency,” said Sherri Friend, president and CEO of Oakwood Creative Care. “Our partnership with Mercy Care will strengthen our ability to serve those families so they can live meaningful lives and celebrate each moment of joy along the way.”

Mesa Mayor John Giles visited with families and caregivers at the Dementia Hub during a ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 1 to celebrate the grant award and collaboration.

“I’ve watched a family member suffer from dementia and it is an awful, heartbreaking diagnosis. Mesa is so fortunate to have this incredible team at Oakwood Creative Care, who help people find joy, compassion, and much needed support as they navigate this cruel disease,” said Mayor Giles. “We’re grateful for all the nonprofit organizations, like Oakwood Creative Care and Mercy Care, that deliver such valuable services.”

The Mercy C.A.R.E.S. Community Reinvestment grant program supports AHCCCS’ Whole Person Care Initiative, which addresses Social Risk Factors to improve health outcomes. Mercy C.A.R.E.S. partners with community organizations that address Mercy Care’s community health focus areas: managing chronic conditions, addressing housing security, supporting mental health and well-being and empowering recovery from substance use.

About Mercy Care

Mercy Care is a not-for-profit Medicaid managed care health plan, serving AHCCCS members in Arizona since 1985. Mercy Care is a local company sponsored by Dignity Health and Ascension Health. Mercy Care provides access to physical and behavioral health care services for Medicaid-eligible families, children, seniors, and individuals with developmental/cognitive disabilities. Learn more at 

About Mercy C.A.R.E.S.

Mercy C.A.R.E.S., which stands for Community Action Resources Education and Service, is Mercy Care’s community giving initiative. Through grant funding, sponsorships, volunteer efforts and board participation, Mercy C.A.R.E.S. supports AHCCCS’ Whole Person Care Initiative, which social risk factors to improve health outcomes.

An important part of this initiative is the Mercy C.A.R.E.S. Community Reinvestment grant program. It supports organizations that address Mercy Care’s key community health focus areas, which are centered on advancing health equity:  managing chronic conditions; supporting mental health and well-being; addressing housing security; and empowering recovery from substance use.

About Oakwood Creative Care

Oakwood Creative Care’s nonprofit (OCC) offers a supportive community for older adults with cognitive or physical challenges. Even after a difficult diagnosis (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, post-stroke) the body’s mind, heart, and soul still crave that sense of inclusion and productivity. OCC’s day clubs provide enjoyable activities where members find new talents and hobbies each day – like painting, gardening, woodworking, yoga, world history, or joining a choir! Additionally, OCC’s newest location, the Dementia Hub, offers free Memory Cafés, support groups, education, resources, and Care Partner Coaching for families and caregivers of a person with dementia. For more information, visit: