Elder abuse can occur anywhere, including at home and in care settings, and can impact anyone. However, people with dementia are especially at risk because their condition may prevent them from reporting or recognizing abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), in partnership with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), launched the STEAP (Supports and Tools for Elder Abuse Prevention) Initiative to support and enhance the Aging Network's elder abuse prevention education and outreach activities. The results of a poll distributed to all Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI Native American aging programs sought information about their knowledge of existing elder abuse education and outreach resources—and any gaps that may exist.Survey respondents indicated their greatest need for further information and resources was the topic of dementia and elder abuse. Check out this joint webinar which introduced customizable tools that can be used in communities around the county to engage and educate communities about the role everyone can play in preventing abuse. Go here to review, download and customize these resources.
The goal of the Colorado Springs Dementia Friendly Community Initiative is to create a community that supports individuals living with dementia and helps bring meaning, purpose and value to their lives. With the Alzheimer’s Association estimating that the number of Coloradans living with Alzheimer’s will increase to 92,000 in 2025 from 71,000 in 2018, the initiative has gotten started by educating the community on the signs of dementia, ways to best interact with a person living with dementia and by encouraging all sectors of the community to adopt dementia-friendly practices. A key aspect of the Initiative has been its cross-sector connections. Members of the Initiative represent nonprofit organizations, businesses, local governments and the Alzheimer’s Association. This diversity in membership will allow the Initiative to expand into additional community sectors. The group has received support from Adams Bank and Trust, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Colorado Springs, and the Commission on Aging, a group that advises City Council and the Mayor on aging issues, especially as they affect the municipal government policies and operations.
Dementia Friendly New Jersey helps enable people living with dementia continue living in the community while engaging and thriving in their daily lives. The New Jersey Dementia Friendly Task Force has started working in Atlantic and Cape May counties, with plans for statewide expansion. Comprised of leaders from local governments, businesses, the community and the health care sector, Dementia Friendly New Jersey has adopted Dementia Friendly America’s sector approach to ensuring New Jersey becomes more dementia friendly. In doing so, Dementia Friendly New Jersey is working with various community sectors to foster and encourage dementia-friendly practices by providing outreach and training in the following areas: signs/symptoms, communication/behaviors and Virtual Dementia Tours.
A recent edition of CBS This Morning highlighted results from a USAgainstAlzheimers national A-LIST survey in a segment titled “Falling in love while caring for your spouse with Alzheimer's disease.” Key findings from the A-List survey include:
A majority of couples report they discuss patient-related preferences, but over 60 percent of those surveyed say they omitted or avoided a conversation about their spouse or partner seeking outside companionship.
When respondents were asked, "If you had Alzheimer's or dementia, would you support or be against your spouse or partner having outside companionship/affection?" Responses were divided: Support (39 percent), Unsure (42 percent) Against (19 percent).
Respondents were divided on the question of whether the Alzheimer’s patient being in a facility or at home would make a difference for a spouse to have another relationship. 25 percent said “Yes” and 25 percent said “Unsure,” and close to 50 percent said "No."
The USAgainstAlzheimer’s A-LIST is an online community of people with or at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and mild cognitive impairment and includes current and former care partners. The A-LIST conducts surveys on patient and caregiver preferences, patient-doctor relationships, clinical trials, caregiver health, and technology
The Alzheimer’s Association has released its 2019 Facts and Figures report, infographic and an overview video. Facts highlighted in the report include:
• 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.
• Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.
• More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
• These caregivers provided an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care valued at nearly $234 billion.
Dementia Friendly America is excited to welcome Lawrence County, Indiana to the DFA community. Started in November 2018 as a county-wide initiative focused on education, outreach, collaboration and advocacy, the goal of Dementia Friendly Lawrence County is to create a welcoming community that maximizes independence and quality of life for individuals living with dementia and their care partners. Since its kick-off event, Dementia Friendly Lawrence County has formed a local committee consisting of representatives from a variety of social service and health care agencies, businesses, churches, a public library and care partners. The committee has held monthly meetings where it discussed plans for future initiatives and trainings. In fact, the committee has provided staff training to local business and organizations and has plans to expand its training to help other businesses and organizations become dementia friendly.
In a great example of Dementia Friendly communities working closely with the education sector, Dementia Friendly San Antonio (DFSA) is led by an advisory board of community members and Caring for Caregiver program, which is based at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. These partners came together to form DFSA to address the pressing need in Texas for an inclusive community that supports families touched by dementia. More than 390,000 Texans age 65 years and older live with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and this number is expected to grow by nearly 30 percent by the year 2025. By embracing cross-sector approach to partnerships, DFSA has implemented initiatives across an array of community sectors. At a Dementia Friendly town hall meeting, DFSA’s advisory board gathered more than 250 community stakeholders for a roundtable discussion that addressed themes and priorities important to the San Antonio community. DFSA advisory board is leading the charge to begin addressing these priorities. The board includes representatives from committed sectors consisting of the University of Texas San Antonio School of Nursing, the University Health System and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce along with the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County will be leading the movement to make Tyler a Dementia Friendly Community. The Tyler Chamber of Commerce established the Senior Resource Committee, which represents various segments of the community—faith-based organizations, nonprofits, veterans-related organizations, local government, businesses, legal, education, transportation and other sectors. Since the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce received a designation from the State of Texas as a Certified Retirement Community in 2014, the population of older adults in Tyler has grown, leading the community to prepare all sectors to address the needs faced by people living with dementia, their families, caregivers, employers and community as a whole. To support its aging population, those living with dementia and their caregivers, the Senior Resource Committee has launched a Seniors Celebrating Life Program, a Senior Health Expo, multiple lunch-and-learn presentations, all with a focus on living with dementia and virtual dementia tours and community engagement workshops.
Located in Virginia, Dementia Friendly Leesburg began as an “action team” under the wing of the Loudoun Senior Interest Network, which is comprised of dedicated professionals who serve the aging population in Leesburg and Loudoun County. Dementia Friendly Leesburg plans to expand to the full Loudoun County in the future. Several partners from local government, faith communities, law enforcement, first response providers, community members, and caregiver services and supports make this a true community initiative, helping Dementia Friendly Leesburg to plan and organize. Dementia Friendly Leesburg has plans to partner with business, banking, health care, businesses and employers (including restaurants, grocery stores, libraries) and residential care services to continue expanding community awareness of dementia.
The BrightFocus Foundation has launched a national campaign to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s. Consisting of a series of public service announcements, the campaign has made materials available in English and Spanish and includes resources on signs and symptoms, risk factors, and questions to ask your doctor when diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The BrightFocus Foundation supports research to end Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma and is a crucial partner in the Dementia Friendly America movement.
The Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Aging has become the newest Dementia Friends program partner. Dementia Friends USA, administered by Dementia Friendly America in the U.S., is part of a global movement developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom that aims to help everyone in a community understand what dementia is, how it affects people, and how everyone can make a difference for people touched by dementia. In order to expand the program across the state, the Division of Aging plans to partner with new and existing partners in health care, academia, government, and community organizations. It will also continue working with the Georgia Gerontology Society to bolster current dementia friendly community efforts happening statewide. Learn if your state is one of 19 states now offering Dementia Friends sessions.
Dementia Capable Cary, located in North Carolina, has also joined the DFA network of communities. Its mission is to empower, educate, and engage individuals with dementia, their caregivers, and businesses to create a community that is ready and willing to serve those with dementia and their families. Dementia Capable Cary has several goals, including to: 1) revolutionize the way Cary, NC views dementia and caregiving, 2) develop a safe, well-supported, and respectful environment for older adults and their families within the Town of Cary, 3) offer certification and ongoing training for Cary and surrounding area businesses to become dementia friendly, 4) provide resources and support to older adults and their families navigating the aging journey, and 5) create synergistic partnership among the business sector, individuals, town entities, and faith communities that promotes cooperation to achieve common goals for our growing number of senior adults. Dementia Capable Cary has achieved several successes, including a partnership with the local police department that has resulted in training and an initiative to support people living at home, a Senior Resource Guide, and a dementia friendly business program.
The Village of River Forest, Illinois has joined the Dementia Friendly America network of communities! Dementia Friendly River Forest is taking a multi-sector approach to develop and share innovative dementia-friendly initiatives with the community. After holding a 2018 kick-off meeting, Dementia Friendly River Forest chose the Village of River Forest, the Oak Park/River Forest Township and the Loyola University Health System as the champion organizations that will coordinate the initiative. Dementia Friendly River Forest has received strong support from the mayor of the Village of River Forest and the local police and fire departments and has begun developing partnerships with local libraries as well as home care and social services organizations. The Dementia Friendly River Forest team will work with the Center for Gerontology at Concordia University Chicago to track its progress and share findings with the community. The initiative is planning to develop the “River Forest Care Corps” as a way to reduce stigma and support persons living with dementia and their families and to provide opportunities for volunteers to offer respite care.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Revolutionizing Dementia Care, a documentary produced by Community Idea Stations, a PBS-affiliate, in partnership with the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), a member of Dementia Friendly America’s National Council, portrays how person- and relationship-centered practices enhance the lives of individuals living with dementia. These practices—often simple accommodations that can be implemented at home or in a care setting—offer an increased sense of purpose, self-worth and joy to those living with dementia. “By seeing our strengths, we are empowered. It enriches our lives. This is the true meaning of person-centered care,” notes DAA Advisory Board member, Brian LeBlanc, who is living with dementia. Revolutionizing Dementia Carecan be viewed online at: https://ideastations.org/RevolutionizingDementiaCare and on select local PBS stations.
Additionally, registration is now open for DAA’s Conference and Dementia Arts Festwhich will be held June 20 to 22 in Atlanta, GA. The Arts Fest will feature a wide array of art, and artists living with dementia will be speaking about their art-making. The conference theme is fostering attitudes and practices that engage, empower and enable the lives of individuals living with dementia.
The Dementia Action Alliance USA, a member of Dementia Friendly America, is a nonprofit national advocacy and education organization of people living with dementia, care partners, friends and dementia specialists committed to creating a better country in which to live with dementia.
The Wyoming Association of Senior Project Directors, a network of senior centers dedicated to providing high-quality recreational, social and supportive services to Wyoming’s older adults, will serve as the state lead for implementing the state’s Dementia Friends program. Dementia Friends USA, administered by Dementia Friendly America in the U.S., is part of a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. Developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom, the Dementia Friends initiative aims to help everyone in a community understand what dementia is, how it affects people, and how everyone can make a difference for people touched by dementia. Learn if your state is one of 18 states now offering Dementia Friends sessions. Contact your state lead to learn more!
Dementia Friendly America welcomes two new communities to the DFA Network! With leadership from the Area Agency on Aging of Northeastern Illinois, Kankakee County and the North Chicago/Lake County communities have each developed a dementia-friendly Advisory Committee comprised of community partners, caregivers and people living with dementia who will guide their dementia friendly community initiatives. North Chicago/Lake County’s dementia friendly community activities have included holding a kick-off community meeting, implementing the Tales and Travels Memories Library program, receiving a mayoral proclamation for Dementia Friendly Awareness days, trainings for the health care sector and family caregivers, as well as a screening of the film Too Soon To Forget. Several initiatives in Kankakee County are underway, including caregiver trainings (some delivered in partnership with faith-based community), the implementation of memory cafes and a community-wide kick-off meeting. Both the Kankakee County and the North Chicago/Lake County dementia-friendly communities have used DFA resources to develop and implement dementia-friendly business training presentations for five sectors—health care, transportation, elder rights, financial/banking and general community members.
To join the DFA Network of communities, interested communities submit a an application describing their initiative and providing information on how it would: span community sectors, involve people living with dementia in guiding and shaping the initiative, adopt dementia-friendly practices, and more. Contact DFA for more information.
Dementia-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh has hit the ground running with a vision for Greater Pittsburgh to create a community that enables those living with dementia and their care partners to live safe, engaged lives, where they remain informed and included in the everyday life of their community. Dementia-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh came as a result of the Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh Action Plan, which launched in October 2017. As a grassroots effort, Dementia-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh is building a collaboration of organizations and individuals to acknowledge and address the specific needs of those living with dementia and their care partners while providing a safe environment as well as opportunities for continued engagement and education.
Dementia-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh has several accomplishments already, including implementing a community survey and partnering with the University of Pittsburgh’s MOVE UP research program, which is designed around mobility and lifestyle program for caregivers. One of their partners has received the statewide license to launch Dementia Friends Pennsylvania. Additionally, their Cultural Arts Work Group has provided training and program support to such organizations as the Senator John Heinz History Center, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and more. Dementia-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh will continue its efforts by reaching out to potential partners, including those in the faith- based community, shared ride drivers and Meals on Wheels staff.
Caregiving & Dementia: Understanding Responsive Behaviors is a two-part series developed by Jennifer Brush, Program Director, The National Center for Montessori and Aging at Crossway Community, in partnership with Montgomery County Maryland’s Caregiver Support Program. These short presentations introduce the concept of purposeful engagement for people living with cognitive impairment and provide effective guidance for the caregiver when faced with behavior challenges. The easy to implement suggestions integrate Montessori for Aging principles with dementia care best practices research.
Part 1 - Introduces challenges associated with dementia, approaches that can support purposeful engagement in the home, and how caregivers can better understand the unique capacity of their loved one. Click here to view
Part 2 – 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. Click here to view
The Topsfield Fair, America's oldest agricultural fair since it started in 1818, has hit many milestones over the years. Its newest milestone is working to become dementia-friendly, in partnership with Dementia Friendly Topsfield. Staff and volunteers who worked at this year’s Topsfield Fair received education on dementia, including its signs and symptoms, to help them better support the people living with dementia and caregivers who attended the fair. Topsfield Fair also created a special map to highlight the dementia-friendly food vendors while also providing visitors with tips on being dementia friendly. The Topsfield Fair plans to unveil a multi-year plan to continue to become more dementia friendly.