November 2019 Newsletter

New Communities Join the DFA Network!

Dementia Friendly America continues to welcome new communities to the fold! Read on to learn about our newest communities in Iowa, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Waterloo, IA

Helmed by the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging, Dementia Friendly Waterloo has created a cross-sector action team that includes partnerships with Waterloo’s mayor, individuals living with dementia and their caregivers, leading local businesses, the Alzheimer’s Association, senior service agencies, financial institutions, skilled nursing facilities as well as a highly recognized dementia expert and Professor of Gerontology from the University of Northern Iowa. The initiative’s first major project was a daylong conference that provided information on the basics of dementia and strategies to become more dementia friendly. The conference also included sessions on ways to prevent the abuse of individuals living with dementia, person-centered strategies and resources for living with dementia. Dementia Friendly Waterloo already has a full slate of activities planned for 2020, including research on the perceptions of dementia in faith-based organizations, which will inform the creation of a training for faith-based organizations. Other upcoming projects include trainings with local law enforcement and local businesses.

Newtown, PA

Dementia Friendly Newtown PA is committed to educating the community on the signs of dementia and ways to best interact with people living with dementia. Dementia Friendly Newtown will be encouraging all sectors of the community to adopt dementia-friendly practices. Coordinated by Pickering Manor, a local continuing care retirement community, Dementia Friendly Newtown is a collaboration with an array of partners, including first responders, banks and business owners. Dementia Friendly Newton will make available non-medical, easy-to-understand dementia awareness materials and resources that can be used in the community. 

Lehigh Valley, PA

The Lehigh Valley Dementia Friendly Coalition seeks to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of having dementia through its Dementia Friendly Lehigh Valley initiative. Goals of the initiative are to raise awareness and reduce stigma through education and outreach, to cultivate commitments from stakeholders and partners, to leverage existing dementia friendly community resources and to share information about best practices with the broader community. The Dementia Friendly Lehigh Valley initiative is led by a steering committee of individuals representing the full range of sectors within the community, including faith communities, senior living and residential care, non-profit and social services, and health care and is supported by five working groups.

Surprise, AZ

With Arizona anticipated to experience the highest rate of growth in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias nationally, the city of Surprise, AZ is collaborating with Banner Sun Health Research Institute/Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, Benevilla and Sun Health, in addition to partners from the Alzheimer’s Association and the Salvation Army, on its Dementia Friendly Surprise initiative. The Dementia Friendly Surprise action team is committed to spreading awareness about dementia and better supporting people living with dementia and their care partners. Next steps for the initiative include raising awareness through a new dementia friendly webpage on the local government website, holding Dementia Friends sessions for health care professionals, training Dementia Friend Champions and organizing Memory Cafes. 

Supporting People with Dementia During the Holidays
New resources from the National Institute on Aging provide consumers with ideas they can use to help ensure holiday gatherings are inclusive of people living with dementia and their care partners. Tips include: 
  • Involve individuals with dementia in simple holiday preparations or have them observe your preparations.
  • Consider simplifying your holidays around the home. For example, rather than cooking an elaborate dinner, invite family and friends for a potluck. Instead of elaborate decorations, consider choosing a few select items.
  • Encourage friends and family to visit even if it’s difficult. Limit the number of visitors at any one time, or have a few people visit quietly with the person in a separate room. Plan visits when the person usually is at his or her best.
  • Prepare quiet distractions to use, such as a family photo album, if the person with Alzheimer’s becomes upset or overstimulated.
  • Make sure there is a space where individuals with dementia can rest when attending larger gatherings.
n4a Webinar on New Dementia and Brain Health Report 
Last month, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) announced the release of Dementia and Brain Health: The Role of Area Agencies on Aging, which describes ways that Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are responding to the needs of increasing numbers of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers—and how they are addressing the issue of brain health in their communities. A webinar highlighting the findings of the report, as well as guest speakers on dementia services and supports is now available online.
Indiana's Monroe County Historical Center Receives Award for Dementia Friendly Program

The Monroe County History Center’s Living with History program, an Indiana project promoting compassion and awareness for dementia, is the recipient of the Indiana Historical Society’s 2019 Outstanding Collaborative Project Award. Created in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Resource Service of Indiana University Health and with support from a Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County Community Impact grant, the Living with History Program uses artifacts and archives of the History Center for those living with dementia and their care partners. The program sparks memories and conversation by using memory boxes that are filled with items about a specific theme. The memory boxes can be checked out and are also available for the use at local memory cafés. The program also provides guided tours and brochures as well as training, resources and support for individuals living with dementia and their care partners.

Dementia Friends USA

There are 66,280 Dementia Friends across the United States. Join the Movement by becoming a Dementia Friend today! 
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Interested in starting a Dementia Friendly Community initiative? Contact Dementia Friendly America for resources and support! Check the DFA Getting Started webpage for additional information.
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Copyright © 2019, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), All rights reserved.

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