Ohio Department of Aging Celebrates Grand Opening of Golden Buckeye Center for Dementia Caregiving at OSU College of Nursing
The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) held a ribbon cutting ceremony last Thursday to celebrate the opening of the new Golden Buckeye Center for Dementia Caregiving.
Housed within The Ohio State University College of Nursing, the Golden Buckeye Center is the first facility in the state specifically focused on strengthening the knowledge and skills of Ohioans who provide care to those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (ADOD).
Located at 760 Kinnear Road in Columbus, the Golden Buckeye Center will offer an in-person and virtual presence to educate and empower caregivers statewide. The center will provide access to the latest informational resources, training from world-renowned experts, and space for caregiver respite.
“Ohio truly is the heart of it all – and that includes the heart of caregiving,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “Family caregivers are among our strongest Ohioans. But sometimes even the strongest among us could benefit from a little help. That’s where the Golden Buckeye Center comes in. To caregivers across the state, this facility stands as a fountain of knowledge, a beacon of hope, and a symbol of relief.”
More than 220,000 Ohioans are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and more than 660,000 family and friends provide care to those individuals. These numbers are only growing, making it crucial for Ohio to develop resources designed for caregivers.
“Caregivers embody the spirit of selfless service that defines what it means to be an Ohioan. They fully dedicate themselves to helping others maintain their independence and quality of life – often on top of their own full-time jobs,” said ODA Director Ursel J. McElroy, who served as the host of Thursday’s celebration. “With the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias on the rise, the opening of this center delivers on our commitment as a state to build impactful supports for those who support others.”
Experienced faculty and staff from The Ohio State University College of Nursing will handle daily operations of the Golden Buckeye Center, with Dean Karen M. Rose and Dr. Mary Beth Happ serving as co-directors of the facility.
“At some point, all of us will be, or will be in need of, caregivers. This is one of those rare, globally shared human experiences, because health – and caring for those whose health is struggling – is universal. It’s also universal to a nurse’s calling to care,” said Dean Rose during Thursday’s ceremony. “And it’s why we at the College of Nursing are so excited and so ready to partner with Director McElroy and the Ohio Department of Aging, along with our regional partners, to create a foundational center to support caregivers across our great state.”
The Golden Buckeye Center is part of Ohio’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Resource Program; a collaborative effort led by ODA, in partnership with The Ohio State University College of Nursing, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), and several other contributing organizations, including:
- Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
- MemoryLane Care Services
- Ohio-based chapters of the Alzheimer's Association
- Ohio Council for Cognitive Health
- Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University
- Summit County Combined General Health District
Joining the event was former family caregiver Karen Hensley Rayburn. Now the Director of Community Relations at the African American Alzheimer’s & Wellness Association, Hensley Rayburn discussed what she called the “groundbreaking opportunity” for caregivers provided by the Golden Buckeye Center.
“I believe that this center will be square one – a starting place for everyone – for practitioners, for clinicians, for caregivers, and family members,” said Rayburn. “This is a direct resource; a place to go for access and learning materials. I think that this will produce higher-quality interactions with people’s family members and better coordination of services.”
Rounding out the speakers were Trey Addison, Director of State Public Policy at the Alzheimer’s Association; Holly Holtzen, State Director of AARP Ohio; and former State Senator Kenny Yuko.
Yuko served as a primary sponsor on Senate Bill 24 in the 133rd General Assembly. Signed by Gov. DeWine, the bill created Ohio’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Task Force. The goal of the Task Force was to examine the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, the services available in Ohio for them, and the abilities of health care providers and facilities to meet those individuals’ needs. A Preliminary Findings Summary from the Task Force was released in September 2021, which helped spark the creation of the Golden Buckeye Center.
To conclude the ceremony, Director McElroy announced that, building off of the Preliminary Findings Summary, ODA is now preparing to release a new report, called Ohio’s Action Plan on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias.
“Our Action Plan includes several goals, strategies, and tactics that will make our state more proactive and coordinated in our collective response to ADOD,” Director McElroy said. “Many of these strategies are already underway in Ohio, but there remains more to be done. Fortunately, with our Action Plan, we have a pathway forward.”
The Action Plan will be available in the coming days at aging.ohio.gov/ActionPlan.