October 2019 Newsletter

New Communities Continue to Join the DFA Network!

Dementia Friendly America continues to welcome new communities to the fold! Read on to learn about our newest communities in Michigan, Kentucky, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Virginia and New York.

Saline, MI

Launched as a grassroots initiative, Dementia Friendly Saline demonstrates that the community respects and welcomes persons with dementia, their caregivers and families as valued participants in community life. Stemming from a dementia awareness program offered by the local Holy Faith Church, the initiative is supported by the city of Saline, a local retirement community, and enjoys the cooperation of the Alzheimer's Association Michigan Great Lakes Chapter. Along with the active involvement of caregivers, persons with dementia, members of the business, faith, education and residential care sectors, the initiative holds monthly community meetings, stakeholder workshops and dementia education sessions—in addition to hosting opportunities for socialization and connections for persons living with dementia through memory cafés.
Lexington, KY

Dementia Friendly Lexington began when a group of concerned community members, including caregivers, persons living with dementia and representatives from several organizations began to discuss ways Lexington could be more dementia friendly. Partners include the Alzheimer’s Association, Bluegrass ElderLaw, Bluegrass Area Development District (an Area Agency on Aging) and the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. Dementia Friendly Lexington’s goals include helping persons living with dementia and their caregivers engage in community life for as long as possible, increasing awareness of the needs of people living with dementia and their caregivers, and training individuals on ways to communicate and interact with people living with dementia and to reduce social isolation.
Aberdeen, SD

South Dakota’s Dementia Friendly Aberdeen team consists of several volunteers from the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce, partners in local government, hospitals and long-term care. Working with the Chamber of Commerce has allowed the Dementia Friendly Aberdeen team to connect with business leaders and gather further support for the program that it may not have received otherwise. The Dementia Friendly Aberdeen team has also received support from the mayor of Aberdeen and is seeking funding through fundraising, grants and sponsorships from local businesses.
Monroe County, WI

The Dementia Friendly Monroe County Coalition consists of healthcare professionals, community members and advocates for senior health and wellness that support Wisconsin’s statewide efforts to improve the lives of those living with dementia and related illnesses. The Coalition’s mission is “to build a dementia friendly community through collaborative partnerships that will raise awareness, provide education and encourage community engagement that will ultimately enhance quality of life for everyone.” The Coalition has launched numerous activities in the community, including education, Project Lifesaver (a search and rescue program operated by public service agencies), monthly memory cafés and other social events for people living with dementia and their caregivers.
Central Virginia

The goal of Dementia Friendly Central Virginia (DFCV) is to raise awareness, reduce the stigma surrounding dementia and support the needs of the more than 5,000 people living in the Thomas Jefferson Planning District (the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson and the City of Charlottesville) who are thought to be living with dementia or other cognitive impairments. DFCV will do so by promoting awareness and recognition of the signs of dementia, and will provide information on how to best communicate with people living with dementia. By tackling the stigma and social isolation that families living with dementia often experience, DFCV hopes to create a community where people living with dementia can continue their daily activities, live safely and be as independent as possible. To this end, DFCV supports businesses and organizations in demonstrating awareness, respect and responsiveness to dementia.
New York, NY

PSS Circle of Care's Dementia Friendly Community initiative takes a grassroots approach to help communities in each of New York City’s five boroughs become dementia friendly. Due to the size and population density of New York City, PSS plans to adapt the DFA model to target diverse and distinct communities that define areas of New York City. PSS has developed a 14-step model that assumes a bottoms-up, grassroots approach that empowers community members to become active participants in the creation of a dementia friendly community, one where people with dementia and their caregivers are empowered, supported and included in society.

New Report on Dementia and Brain Health Now Available
A new report from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) illustrates how 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. The new report, Dementia and Brain Health: The Role of Area Agencies on Aging, examines the impact of dementia on AAA clients, as well as the innovative programs and partnerships AAAs have developed to support the growing number of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. The report also highlights how AAAs are addressing the emerging topic of brain health, which researchers have begun to connect to programs that support individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. Recent research explores how individuals can mitigate risk factors and maintain a healthy brain across the lifespan. Included in the report are examples of innovative AAA programs from across the country that support individuals living with dementia and their caregivers.
News from the USAgainstAlzheimer’s Annual Summit
Staff from Dementia Friendly America attended the USAgainstAlzheimer’s National Alzheimer’s Summit earlier this month. USAgainstAlzheimer’s is a long-time funder and supporter of Dementia Friendly America. The National Alzheimer’s Summit centered on three themes: taking action on brain health, advancing equity and access, and accelerating research. An October 24 Advocacy Day raised the visibility of the Roadmap for America to Fight Alzheimer’s, which is driving forward the goals of accelerating a cure for Alzheimer’s by increasing NIH funding for Alzheimer’s research by $350 million and encouraging early detection, diagnosis and access to interventions through passage of the CHANGE Act.
Drug to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease to be Submitted for FDA Approval  

Announced at USAgainstAlzheimer’s National Alzheimer’s Summit was the news that an experimental Alzheimer’s drug that has reduced clinical decline across multiple metrics in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval by biotechnology company Biogen. This is big news in the world of Dementia Friendly America as only four drugs have been approved to treat the symptoms of the disease, with the most recent drug being approved in 2003.
Updates from the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging 

A new report from the Milken Institute, Reducing the Cost and Risk of Dementia, updates data from a 2016 Milken Institute report called The Price Women Pay for Dementia and provides an overview of the value of brain health and the effects of dementia on diverse communities.

The report also identifies actionable recommendations around the following goals:
  • Goal #1: Promote strategies to maintain and improve brain health for all ages, genders, and across diverse populations
  • Goal #2: Increase access to cognitive testing and early diagnosis  
  • Goal #3: Increase opportunities for diverse participation in research and prioritize funding to address health disparities
  • Goal #4: Build a dementia-capable workforce across the care continuum
  • Goal #5: Establish services and policies that promote supportive communities and workplaces for people with dementia and their caregivers
A recent video from the Milken Institute, Lowering the Price and Risk of Dementia, includes interviews from individuals who discuss what can be done at the individual and societal levels to improve brain health, reduce disparities and ultimately change the trajectory of this disease.
Dementia Friends USA

There Are 61,312 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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