Officials with Meals on Wheels San Antonio recently celebrated the opening of a new local Alzheimer’s center courtyard designed to help Alzheimer’s patients as well as their loved ones and caregivers.

The background

According to a news release, a grand opening was held April 11 at Grace Place Alzheimer’s Center for the unveiling of a courtyard at the center, which is located at the Meals on Wheels Campus of Grace, 2718 Danbury St. The courtyard was named the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation's A Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation Courtyard, based on a fundraising gift awarded by the Santikos foundation.

Representatives for Meals on Wheels San Antonio pointed to a 2022 study of nearly 62 million Medicare beneficiaries that found older adults who live near green spaces and spend more time in nature had a lower rate of hospitalization related to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Meals on Wheels officials also said while spending time outdoors can offer many benefits, people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia often have little access to these spaces. Meals on Wheels officials added that such spaces as the new courtyard at Grace Place Alzheimer’s Center can benefit Alzheimer’s patients, center attendees, caregivers and staff.

A closer look

According to the San Antonio Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 13% of Bexar County residents age 65 and over are living with dementia.

San Antonio was designated as a Dementia Friendly City in 2019, and the new Grace Place Alzheimer’s Center at the Meals on Wheels Campus of Grace supports overall efforts to serve an increasing local need, Meals on Wheels officials said.

Representatives for Meals on Wheels also cited The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio data that shows Hispanics are twice as likely to develop dementia over individuals of other ethnicities, making San Antonio and South Texas particularly vulnerable to this disease.