Dementia Friendly Communities

Have you stopped to think how many of your neighbors may be living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s.  Granted they may live next door and you have seen some peculiar behavior that leaves you with questions and concerns.  Is there a plan in place to notify family members or friends.  It might be you experiencing some forgetfulness and are wrestling with what to do next.

Wait, this is where it pays to be curious.  Start asking questions, become educated. Get an advocate, someone who can act on your behalf.

Preparation is key.

  • Is your community one of inclusion and supportive to the needs of its residents?
  • Are the local Adult Day Care, Memory Care facilities, Support Groups etc.
  • Where do you go to get help?
  • Who do you call?

I say start at the top.  Look to your elected officials to find out what they are doing to keep the aging members of their communities staff, informed and supported.  Is there a system in place to return residents who have wandered off and gotten lost.  Are the police officers and EMTs trained to meet the needs of those living with dementia – residents whose behaviors may be mis-understood?  Wait, what happens when someone is brought to the Emergency Room, with confusion, behaviors, non-verbal and otherwise unable to provide any information to assist doctors and nurses?

Let’s examine how you can get some help.  Let’s look at this critical services in your community and see what programs they have to support the needs of an aging population.

  • State Representatives
    • Direct line to Washington
    • Access to funds for improvement
    • Works to earn your vote and on your behalf
    • Advocate
  • Office of the Mayor
    • Works for your city, town or village
    • Easy access to hear your concerns
    • Access to funds for improvement
    • Works to earn your vote and on your behalf
    • Advocate
  • Fire Department
    • Your safety – in their hands
    • Trained emergency response personnel
    • Trained to work with people with dementia
    • Your tax dollars at work
  • Police/Sheriff’s Department
    • Your safety – in their hands
    • Trained emergency response personnel
    • Trained to work with people with dementia
    • Your tax dollars at work
  • Hospitals/Doctors
    • Provide life-sustaining interventions
    • Trained emergency response personnel
    • Trained to work with people with dementia
    • Keep you safe
  • Utility/Streets/Sanitation Providers
    • Keeping our community safe
    • Your tax dollars at work

Takeaway – now that I really got you thinking about just this very short portion of a much longer list of national, state and local entities that are tasked with keeping you safe, people who you interact with on a daily basis….should they be friendly? Dementia Friendly?