A Community Approach To Dementia

July 23, 2015
Virgil Thomas, ChangingAging.org

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Tempe, Arizona has been dubbed an “Alzheimer’s and dementia-friendly” city by the White House, the USA Today reported. This is one of the many community solutions to aging that are being pioneered around the country.

A Dementia-friendly city is similar in many ways to the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly City concept that has been adopted by several cities in America including Portland and New York.

[Mayor] Mitchell said Tempe, along with medical professionals who specialize in dementia, will now develop programs to inform the public, train police and firefighters how to recognize and respond to dementia sufferers, and locate services for patients who may have fallen through cracks in the social safety net.

 

“This is a pilot program, so we’re learning as we go along,” Mitchell said.

The concept focuses on providing support to family members and members of the community living with dementia. Many family caregivers do not have access to the resources and information they need. Dr. Eric Reiman, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute explains:

“Too often, family caregivers are left to fend for themselves to address the everyday needs that they have,” Reiman said. “For instance, how can I help my loved one understand they need to stop driving? At what point do I consider residential-care opportunities? How do I get some rest and have someone look after this person? There are thousands of questions that patients and exhausted caregivers need to have addressed and at the moment there’s a lot more that can be done.”

A Dementia-friendly city also focuses on providing training to healthcare professionals, first responders, and members of the community on how to identify and treat people living with Dementia.

As our society continues to age we should look more towards broad community based solutions. Know any? Drop us a comment.

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