Spotlight on Nihal Satyadev / by Haley Smith

Meet Nihal Satyadev - After losing his grandmother to Alzheimer's, he decided to rally a movement around the disease, raising awareness and advocacy about the ways in which both we and the government can help those who suffer and their family members. 

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Tell us about the Youth Movement Against Alzheimers. 

 

YMAA focuses on caregiving, research, and advocacy.

Through a partnership with UCLA Health and a six-figure grant from the Eisner Foundation, we launched TimeOut@UCLA. The program bridges the generational gap by partnering trained student volunteers and seniors with early-stage dementia in a one-on-one setting. For 3 hours, twice a week, they play games, participate in artistic activities, and engage in stimulating conversation. TimeOut@UCLA takes place at a dementia-friendly venue that accommodates several student-senior pairs, helping the seniors battle social isolation, while simultaneously allowing family caregivers an opportunity to network with each-other. Exit surveys indicate increased student interest in careers in aging and improved sense of purpose for those with Alzheimer’s.

 

In order to scale and sustain our program, YMAA has developed a social enterprise – YouthCare, which is structured similarly to TimeOut@UCLA Our program will be offered well below market rate, opening up access to care to millions of families who currently cannot afford it. YouthCare has been successful in pitch competitions hosted at UCLA and MIT Solve, and we are planning to launch our program in January.

 

This year, our team gave out our first four undergraduate research scholarships. Students were selected after rigorous review from our advisory team of Ph.Ds.

 

Our advocacy efforts focus on rallying students to take up this fight through starting clubs at high schools and colleges. We currently have 10 schools who are operating in this model.

 

Across the three areas of our organization, we have one belief - if youth can get involved in large numbers to address this issue, our generation can be the last one to know and experience Alzheimer's.

 

What was the impetus for its creation? 

When I was a teenager, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At the time, I did not understand the ramifications of the disease, nor the struggle my family would go through in the ensuing years to provide the appropriate care options for her. Seeing my mom lose her relationship with her mother inspired me to dedicate all my extra-curricular time to learning more about this disease. By the time I was twenty-one, I had already conducted over a thousand hours of research in this field, but progress was not moving quickly enough.

                Two years ago, I realized that the cost of care for Alzheimer’s was on a direct path to bankrupt Medicare and Medicaid in the next ten years. For the first time, I realized this was also a disease, that would affect my generation early in my life with ramifications as severe as global warming. In order to inspire my generation to seek solutions to this problem, I co-founded the Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s. 

 

What is your advice to other young students who want to start a movement for social impact?

First, really make sure the work you are doing is different from what other organizations are doing. If not, your efforts are much more beneficial in helping other organizations grow. Our success has been largely due to a clear message, a strong team, and an unwavering belief and desire to make a lasting change. Too many social impact ideas are created only with the heart and not with the mind - have a business plan that will actually work beyond people simply 'caring'. If you ever need help or someone to bounce an idea off of, I can be reached at nihal@theyouthmovement.org. I want to see you succeed, no matter which field you are making an impact in .

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