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.
National leaders, stakeholders and advocates came together earlier in the week at the National Alzheimer’s Summit. Convened by USAgainstAlzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Summit brings together “doers” to share ideas, outline solutions and spark collaborations that will make a difference in the lives of the millions of families, and communities, impacted by dementia. The Summit focused on critical trends shaping the Alzheimer’s movement, including the mobilization of young people, patient-centered research and drug development, and impact on racial and ethnic disparities.
A highlight of the conference was a panel on intergenerational caregiving, which included a spotlight on the work of Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s, a DFA National Council member, and Puzzles to Remember. Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s works with colleges and high schools around the country while Puzzles to Remember has provided more than 33,000 age-appropriate jigsaw puzzles to nursing homes around the country. Puzzles to Remember was represented at the summit by its Associate Director, Hailey Richman, a fifth grader inspired by her grandmother’s dementia.
The Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A), part of Dementia Friendly America, is one of 13 Area Agencies on Aging that received a 2017 six-month $10,000 grant to develop its local Dementia Friendly Law Enforcement and First Responder training program. M4A recently received an additional one year $10,000 grant from the CAWACO Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc. to expand their training program, replenish all training materials and recruit new volunteer trainers. In August 2018, the initiative providedtraining to all firefighters in the city of Alabaster, Alabama on how they can support individuals with dementia that they encounter in their work, including connecting people to community resources. The Alabaster police department completed the training earlier in the year.
Dementia Friendly Wyoming (DFW), a program of the Hub on Smith and a grant recipient from the Administration for Community Living, is partnering with their local Home Depot store to develop a home safety educational campaign for persons living with dementia. Over the last year, DFW provided one-hour educational sessions to Home Depot management in Sheridan, WY, on understanding and recognizing signs of dementia, learning how to communicate with individuals who have dementia and connecting them to resources. This training is now being provided to all Home Depot staff in Sheridan, WY.
Additional plans are underway to provide home safety educational displays throughout the store. Dementia Friendly Wyoming isn’t stopping with local Home Depot stores—they’re taking their trainings to the local Walmart and have already provided dementia-friendly training to management and will soon train front-line staff.
Dementia Friendly America’s newest member community—New Oxford/Hanover, PA— is off to a great start with an advisory committee comprised of representatives from various sectors that play a role in ensuring their community meets the needs of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers, including long-term care, in-home care, real estate, health care, legal services. This advisory committee also benefits from the guidance and leadership of a person living with dementia and a caregiver. The committee is assessing current practices, gaps and opportunities in their community and has plans to launch a dementia-friendly business initiative.
Dementia Friends Washington is coming to Washington State through the leadership of the Dementia Action Collaborative, a public-private partnership implementing the Washington State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. Dementia Friends is a global movement to raise awareness about dementia. With more than 22,000 Dementia Friends across the United States and millions of Dementia Friends worldwide, the Dementia Friends initiative fosters awareness of dementia and how it affects people. Dementia Friends commit to taking an action—from something as small as telling friends about the program to visiting someone who is living with dementia, the key is that every action counts. Anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend—we all have a part to play in creating dementia-friendly communities. To learn more and get connected to an initiative in your state visit the Dementia Friends website.
Dementia Friendly America continues to expand its resources and recently added a youth resources section to our website. Is your dementia friendly community initiative working with youth? We’d like to hear from you! Contact us by email and share how you’re working with youth in your community and share youth resources to help us continue to grow our website!
A recent Today Show segment focused on the impact Alzheimer’s and dementia have on youth and young adults, particularly as more of them become caregivers for family members affected by dementia. The segment examined how millennials are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. DFA partner Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s (YMAA) and its CEO/Co-Founder, Nihal Satyadev, were featured in the segment. The mission of YMAA is to promote understanding of Alzheimer's among youth and young adults by providing opportunities to help those it affects.
A new DFA resource aims to help DFA communities as they encourage local businesses to become dementia friendly. Based on lessons learned from DFA communities, a new DFA tip sheet, Dementia Friendly Businesses and Organizations: Information for Starting a Local Initiative, provides information on the business benefits, criteria, content and best practices businesses can use to become more dementia friendly. The DFA website also includes examples of dementia friendly business trainings such as the Dementia Friendly @ Work program, which can be offered by peers within an agency or business. DFA partner Home Instead offers an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business online course. These resources and more are available in the Dementia Friendly America Resources portal!
When dementia strikes, all members of a family are affected—including children. Younger children might struggle with the concept of memories and how they can fade away. Others might not know how to interact with their grandparents, who are now forgetful and repeat themselves. When a grandparent lives at home, kids might be reluctant to invite their friends to their house. Dementia Friendly Missoula recently partnered with Montana Public Radio (MTPR), on a 30-minute radio segment, When Alzheimer’s Moves into the Family, that aired as part of a new initiative on MTPR’s long-standing children’s program, The Pea Green Boat. The new initiative, Kids Like You and Me, focuses on stories and interviews with children who have experienced what it’s like to be different from other children. The project was truly intergenerational: MTPR and DFM worked with a semi-retired librarian, two students who are members of a local high school’s Health Occupations Students of America club, a six-year old whose great-grandmother has Alzheimer’s, a retired physician and former caregiver.
A new webinar from Jewish Children and Family Services (JFCS) in Waltham, Massachusetts describes ways interested communities can start a memory café network. Viewers will also learn what a memory café is and why a memory café network can help communities provide resources for individuals with dementia and their caregivers. The webinar walso provides an overview of the JFCS experience in creating a memory café network in Massachusetts and how it grew from four cafes to more than 80, as well first steps, resource requirements and challenges. JFCS’ Memory Café Toolkits in English and Spanish include information and step-by-step instructions on how to start a Memory Café. In addition, JFCS was recently selected as one of three recipients of the 2017 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease for its Percolator Memory Café Network. JFCS is a member of the DFA network and leads the Dementia Friends Massachusetts initiative!
Dementia Friendly America welcomes the newest member of the DFA network! The Aging in the Gorge Alliance /Alianza de la Tercera Edad is a diverse group of residents from the Mid-Columbia River Gorge region of Oregon and Washington. Their Dementia Friendly Action Team consists of community members and professionals from various disciplines, including case management, occupational therapy, behavioral health, government, long-term care, and hospice care. The community is already hard at work with a work plan that includes training police units, volunteer firefighters, and first responders; training library staff; starting a community club kit; hosting memory cafes; training long-term care facilities in Positive Approaches to Care; training transportation employees and much more!
New communities continue to join the Dementia Friendly America movement! Most recently, two cities in Montana—Missoula and Billings—joined DFA.
Dementia Friendly Billings has a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee and will hold a community forum in June at the Billings public library. They are already working with the media to secure coverage of their efforts—stay tuned for a local newspaper article and coverage on a local TV station! In addition, Dementia Friendly Billings is reaching out to community sectors and is working closely with a major healthcare organization, a community health provider and the public library.
The Dementia Friendly Missoula team is composed of members representing private home services, the Missoula Public Library, the Missoula City County Health Department, the University of Montana’s Montana Geriatric Education Center, the Montana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and many more. Building upon work of the Missoula Coalition on Aging & Disability, Dementia Friendly Missoula has worked on dementia-related issues for the last two years and continues to expand on these efforts with the goal of increasing awareness of dementia and providing education and support to individuals with dementia and their care partners.
Too Soon To Forget, a documentary developed by the Without Warning support group, a program for individuals and families who live with younger onset Alzheimer’s at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, is now available to view on local public television. Too Soon to Forgetshowcases the importance of community in facing the journey of Alzheimer's and shares the experiences and perspectives of nine families who have been affected by early-onset Alzheimer’s. The documentary was developed with leadership from Susan Frick, Director of the Without Warning program and a leader with Dementia Friendly Illinois and Dementia Friends Illinois.