As the aging population increases the number of people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia does as well.
Communities around the world are realizing the importance of educating the entire community about those living with these diseases. While people with dementia may eventually become homebound or live in care facilities, most of their first years are spent living in their communities visiting stores, banks, restaurants, health care facilities and places of worship.
The Sheboygan County Dementia-Friendly Community Task Force is working on a project to accommodate the needs of those living with dementia in Sheboygan County with the goal of better preparing everyone - from store clerks to police officers - to support people with dementia and their caregivers by creating a “dementia-friendly community,” a growing movement that is happening throughout the world.
The movement is focused not just on increasing awareness and reducing stigma, but also on helping people stay in their homes and their communities as long as possible. The Dementia-Friendly Task Force has been meeting for several months to begin the process of creating a Dementia- Friendly Sheboygan County. It has reviewed the tool kit for building dementia-friendly communities published by the Wisconsin Healthy Brain Initiative.
This initiative is dedicated to building a community that values, supports and accepts individuals living with memory loss through leadership, partnership and education. Although the tool kit provides a road map and resources to guide communities to becoming dementia- friendly, each community decides what needs to be addressed in order to support people with dementia in their own community.
The Sheboygan County Dementia-Friendly Community Task Force will host a Community Kick-Off Event from 9 a.m. until noon on Aug. 22 in the Wombat Room of the main building at UW-Sheboygan.
Recently, the group held information gathering sessions throughout Sheboygan County where attendees were informed of the growing need for Sheboygan County to become dementia-friendly. Attendees were asked to identify places in the community they felt needed to become dementia- friendly.
The kick-off event will share the results of the sessions and provide opportunities for organizations, businesses and individuals to become involved in shaping a Dementia- Friendly Sheboygan County. For additional information or to register for the event call 920-4674100 or email Lisa.Hurley @SheboyganCounty.com.
Lisa Hurley is the caregiver coordinator at the ADRC