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Living with dementia is not the same for everyone. Whether you’re caring for someone you love, or living with dementia yourself, the D-CARE program is changing the way we look at dementia care.

When you receive a diagnosis of dementia, either for yourself or a loved one, you probably have a lot of questions about managing the disease.

Geisinger is one of four sites in the U.S. participating in a study called D-CARE, which aims to help those living with dementia and their caregivers. And participating in this study may help you or a loved one live more independently.

A new approach to dementia care

“This study is changing the way we treat Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Instead of focusing on just the illness and purely medical care, we’re working with our individual patients and caregivers to learn about their specific symptoms and the challenges they have in day-to-day life dealing with the disease,” says Dr. Maya Lichtenstein, a behavioral neurologist at Geisinger’s Memory and Cognition Program in Wilkes-Barre. “Patients and families would receive their usual medical care, plus they get additional resources to help care for the challenges that may arise.”

3 different approaches to managing dementia

When you enroll in our D-CARE study, you will be randomly placed into one of three possible groups, each of which takes a different approach to dementia care.

Enhanced care

If you’re enrolled in this group, you’ll have access to:

  • Referrals to local programs and resources
  • The 24/7 Alzheimer’s Association hotline
  • Education and support for decision-making for you and your family
  • A list of local support programs, services and resources

Community-based care

Participants in this group will receive Enhanced Care, plus:

  • A trained care consultant (social worker or nurse) from the Alzheimer’s Association to help you develop a care plan based on your individual and family needs
  • Frequent check-ins as needed, over the phone or via email
  • Access to social services and resources as needed
  • A support system that keeps your family and friends involved with your care 

Health system-based care

If you’re enrolled in this group, you’ll have access to Enhanced Care, plus:

  • An in-person clinic visit with a dedicated dementia care specialist advanced practitioner who works with your primary care doctor to help you and your caregiver develop a full memory care plan
  • In-person visits when you need them
  • Regular phone call follow-ups depending on your needs at the time
  • The 24/7 Alzheimer’s Association hotline

“Each group will address concerns and offer different models of care. Each model will be compared to identify which one offers the most effective way to care for those living with dementia and their caregivers,” says Dr. Lichtenstein.

Care built for you, by you

When you’re part of the D-CARE study, our team will work to better understand what concerns you or your caretaker have. What are the things you struggle with the most? Is it keeping track of regular tasks, like paying your bills? Do you experience safety issues, or have trouble finding the right words? Does your caretaker need more support? Whatever those struggles are, we want to know. We’ll use that information to customize the types of treatment and services you receive. It’s care that’s not just more personal, but more beneficial as well, giving you what you need when you need it.

“By taking that time to learn about each person individually, we can develop a treatment plan that addresses their particular needs and get them help in the areas where they need it most, whether that’s additional memory care, reducing their fall risk or finding resources for their caretaker,” Dr. Lichtenstein notes. “Dementia affects the whole family.”

D-CARE study at Geisinger

Are you caring for someone with dementia or struggling with dementia yourself? We invite you to be part of our national research study that will compare three different models of dementia care over the course of 18 months.

If you’re interested in participating or for more information, call 570-808-7215 or visit

Next steps:

Make an appointment with Maya Lichtenstein, MD

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