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Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Announces 2016 Dementia Care Professional of the Year

NEW YORK , Nov. 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) Dementia Care Professionals of America (DCPA) division is proud to announce that Heather McKay, M.S., O.T./L., and a dementia care specialist at the Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell (AC) in Burlington, N.C., is the 2016 “Dementia Care Professional of the Year.” The honor is awarded annually to individuals who have demonstrated professional excellence in care, compassionate performance above and beyond expectations, and a dedicated commitment to individuals living with dementia.

“It means so much to me to receive this award,” said McKay. “As I embarked on my career and was working with individuals with dementia, my grandmother was diagnosed with vascular dementia. That really helped shape my experience. I found myself sometimes taking off my professional hat and looking at it from the perspective of a granddaughter—‘how can I help these families and make caregiving less stressful?'”

McKay oversees dementia support services for the Hospice and Palliative Care Center of AC, providing one-on-one consultations to help people in that rural area better understand the illness and its progression, identify resources and get support and counseling. She has worked in hospital, home health and community settings, and also consults on training for professional and family caregivers. She also does consulting and education for professional and family caregivers nationwide for Partnerships for Health in Hillsborough, NC. In this role, she develops and presents over 100 presentations each year.

“Currently, there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and chief executive officer. “It is critical to have skilled professionals who are specifically-trained in dementia care to help ensure optimal quality of life for these individuals and their families. Heather exemplifies the dedication and devotion to serving individuals living with dementia, their family, staff, and the community, which this distinction represents.”

AFA has awarded Dementia Care Professional of the Year annually since 2007. Past winners have included doctors, support group facilitators, and program and executive directors of Alzheimer’s centers.

For more information, visit www.careprofessionals.org or call 866-232-8484.

About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA):
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals living with dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national, toll-free helpline (866-232-8484) staffed by licensed social workers, educational conferences and materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, the National Memory Screening Program, and “AFA Partners in Care” dementia care training for healthcare professionals. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.

CONTACT: Sandy Silverstein 866-232-8484, ext. 104 ssilverstein@alzfdn.org

Source: Alzheimer'sFoundation of America