Community Service Award

Alzheimer's Buddies at UC Davis

2019 Outstanding Award Winner

Alzheimer's Buddies at UC Davis (ABUD) focuses on addressing the isolation and social disengagement experienced by seniors in the intermediate to late stages of Alzheimer's disease. Through weekly visits to four local, senior care facilities, ABUD's 58 undergraduate volunteers strive to provide companionship, break down communication barriers, and address the social isolation commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease. Through formal training and extensive experience working with these communities, ABUD's volunteers are educated about the effects of Alzheimer's disease on the senior population, how best to reduce social isolation, and form long-lasting friendships.

In this past year, ABUD has contributed almost 1000 hours volunteering at four different senior care facilities around Davis: Atria Covell Gardens, Carlton Senior Living, Courtyard Healthcare Center, and University Retirement Community. ABUD also spearheaded multiple outreach projects focused on raising awareness for the 5.4 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, including a campus-wide campaign for the National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month (NADAM by hanging fliers throughout the campus and distributing purple ribbons to promote awareness. We also distributed informational materials on brain health maintenance, early onset dementia prevention, and local involvement opportunities.

During this past summer, ABUD's directors and members attended the Walk to End Alzheimer's in Sacramento, California where they collected signatures to petition to Congress for more funding for Alzheimer's disease research and impacted communities. The experience inspired ABUD's aspiration to create its own Walk to End Alzheimer's (WtEA) event in Davis. Currently, WtEA is set to take place in November, and if successful, this event will raise more awareness about Alzheimer's disease, create tighter bonds between ABUD's local community and those affected by dementia, and support causes devoted to helping Alzheimer's-impacted communities. The organization is also in the process of recruiting members for a fifth senior care facility, Astoria Vista Senior Care.