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November 2018 Newsletter

DFA Welcomes New Communities Joining The Network!

Dementia Friendly Evanston, IL
Dementia Friendly Evanston is a community-wide initiative focused on education, outreach, collaboration, and advocacy to maximize the quality of life, community participation, and independence for Evanston residents living with dementia and their care partners. Their vision is to create a welcoming and barrier-free community for individuals with dementia and their care partners through compassion, support and stigma reduction. The Dementia Friendly Evanston committee is, with the exception of one part-time staff member, a volunteer grass roots committee consisting of care partners, social workers, mental health and health care professionals as well as individuals living with dementia. They are joined in their work by members of local organizations, which includes home care agencies, Age Friendly Evanston, Evanston Community Foundation, Evanston Public Library, North Shore Village, and Northwestern University. In collaboration with a Northwestern University faculty member, Dementia Friendly Evanston has started to lead local focus groups to identify the needs of individuals with dementia and their care partners. Data from these focus groups will form the basis of Dementia Friendly Evanston’s future efforts.

Martin County, FL
Dementia Friendly America welcomes Martin County HUGS (Help, Understanding, Guidance and Safety) to the DFA network. Martin County HUGS, located in Florida, is a joint venture between Alzheimer's Community Care and the Council on Aging of Martin County and will ensure the safety and well-being of families in Martin County living with the dementia. This collaborative, community-wide effort will provide access dementia-related information, caregiver education and understanding of available family support services. Martin County HUGS is bringing together multiple community stakeholders—non-profit organizations, faith communities, businesses and government entities—to create a compassionate and unified response to dementia in the community. The goal of Martin County HUGS is to encourage the community to work together to provide individuals and families living with dementia the help and hope needed to ensure dignity, safety and well-being throughout the disease progression. Martin County HUGS is already off to a great start—they have developed partnerships with Publix grocery store and Seacoast Bank to provide dementia friendly training to staff.
 
Monrovia, CA
Dementia Friendly Monrovia’s genesis was in the Monrovia Provider’s Group, a network of for-profit and nonprofit entities that provide support services to older adults and their families. This interest grew to include a broader cross section of organizations representing businesses, educators, law enforcement, first responders, health care, the faith community, local government, community members and other partners. Dementia Friendly Monrovia’s work is guided by Senior Helpers, along with the leadership from Alzheimer’s Los Angeles. The Dementia Friendly Monrovia committee meets regularly to develop programming and resources for Monrovia residents and their families affected by dementia. The vision of Dementia Friendly Monrovia is to be a city where people living with dementia and their families feel embraced and able to engage in activities with community-wide support with every part of the community working together to create a dementia friendly culture.
 

Online Montessori and Caregiver Series Focused on Dementia

Caregiving & Dementia: Understanding Responsive Behaviors, a two-part series of short videos, introduces the concept of purposeful engagement for people living with cognitive impairment and provides effective guidance for caregivers when faced with behavior challenges. The video series was launched by the National Center for Montessori and Aging at Crossway Community, in partnership with Montgomery County Maryland’s Caregiver Support Program. The easy-to-implement suggestions integrate principles of Montessori for Aging with dementia care best practices research. Part One introduces common challenges associated with dementia, approaches that can support purposeful engagement in the home, and ways caregivers can better understand their loved one. Part Two provides practical guidance on how to establish a planned home environment that is person-centered, with opportunities for the person living with dementia to participate in activities they enjoy and contribute to their home community. 
 

Disaster Planning Toolkit for People Living With Dementia

Disasters strike without warning, and emergency situations often worsen symptoms of dementia. Living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can make it hard to cope with disasters such as severe weather, fires, floods, earthquakes and other emergencies. The National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center, funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, has just released the Disaster Planning Toolkit for People Living with Dementia. The toolkit helps people living with dementia, family members, neighbors and friends understand what to expect in the event of a disaster and how to prepare. The toolkit consists of seven tip sheets and checklists that cover the following topics: Planning for a Disaster, Important Contacts, Emergency Supplies Checklist, My Medical Conditions and Care Needs, Disaster Planning Tips for People Living Alone with Dementia, Planning for After a Disaster, and Tips for Communication and Responding to Dementia Symptoms. The toolkit is tailored for people living with dementia and provides step-by-step guidance on topics such as developing a disaster communication plan for family and friends, planning for medical and care needs, gathering important documents, determining whether to evacuate or stay in place, choosing an evacuation destination, collecting emergency supplies, planning for pets, and knowing about available community resources. The toolkit also includes tips for caregivers and others assisting a person living with dementia and tips for individuals living alone.
 
Too Soon To Forget, a New Documentary on Younger Onset Dementia

Living with Alzheimer’s disease is a challenge, changing life for both the person with dementia  and their family. But what if someone is diagnosed their early 60s, 50s, or even as young as in their 30s? Too Soon to Forget, produced by the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, a Dementia Friendly America and Dementia Friends USA partner, is now available on DVD.  By sharing the stories of nine families living with dementia, the producers hope to begin a national conversation that encourages awareness, understanding and acceptance of dementia, younger onset dementia—and ways communities can support can make life better for individuals living with dementia. More information is available on the Too Soon to Forget documentary website. For questions about the film, contact Susan Frick of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at susan_frick@rush.edu.
 
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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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