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Creating a Dementia Friendly Community

April 30, 2019

AC_Memory_Cafe_Photo.jpgLaunched in 2009 with a mission to better support individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, the ACT on Alzheimer’s works with health care providers, community members, government officials, caregivers, those with Alzheimer’s, and local businesses to create a support system. The Hopkins chapter of ACT on Alzheimer’s is committed to supporting those who live with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and work to create more dementia friendly communities locally. Here we take a closer look at how they do that.

According to the Minnesota/North Dakota Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 10 people aged 65 and older are affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementias. That is about 10% of the total U.S. population. In Minnesota alone, there are approximately 92,000 people living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of memory loss under the umbrella of dementia. 

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that as the elderly population continues to grow across the United States, it is projected that those who are impacted by the disease will grow to about 14 million by the year 2050, costing an estimated $1.1 trillion to care for their needs.

A story by Andy Steiner in the February 14, 2018 MinnPost noted that “Seventy percent of people diagnosed with dementia live in the community, not in nursing homes. They shop in stores, go to places of worship and walk their pets in the park.” Rather than letting those with dementia retreat into isolation and silently suffer, Steiner’s story added, “the idea behind the Dementia Friendly Communities movement is that if more people understand what it means to live with dementia and create an environment that supports the needs of those who struggle with memory loss, more people will be willing to come out of the shadows and re-enter society.”

For Hopkins resident Beth Kampf, those statistics hit close to home. Her father is living with Alzheimer’s and recently the disease has become more noticeable to Kampf and her mother. Kampf’s father lives at home in Rosemount and her mother is his primary caregiver. He attends Cassia’s Open Circle Adult Day Center in Apple Valley. Kampf has learned of the resources available through the Hopkins ACT on Alzheimer’s Initiative which is focused on creating a more dementia-friendly community for all residents.

Examples of resources available to those diagnosed with memory loss and their caregivers: 

  • Memory Café – provides opportunities to engage with peers in a relaxed, unstructured environment.
  • Memory Kit – offers games and activities at different levels and helps to ease frustration.

Beth’s story is just one of many that reflect the experiences of residents in local communities who are either caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or experiencing the disease first hand. The goal is to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and other dementias through community education, resource information sharing and caregiver/care recipient support along the journey of memory loss. 

To help support and educate those living with dementia and their caregivers the Hopkins ACT on Alzheimer’s is proudly sponsoring several dementia related community events in May in recognition of national Senior Awareness Month. Throughout the month, residents in Hopkins and surrounding cities are invited to attend a number of events, all of which are FREE and open to the public. 

  • Forgetfulness, Is it normal or a warning sign– May5th
  • Driving and Dementia– May 7th
  • Open Circle Support Group – May 7th& May 21st
  • Hopkins ACT Overview – May 9th
  • Memory Café– May14th
  • Hopkins Fire and Police Supporting ACT – May 16th
  • The Gift; how caring for someone with Alzheimer’s brought unexpected blessings – Author Rick Naymark– May 23rd
  • Emerald Crest Meal and Meeting Support Group – May 23rd 
  • Dementia Friends Session – May 28th
  • The Glenn Hopkins Community Caregiver Support Group – May 28th

For complete list of 2019 May events including dates, times and locations go to www.augustanacare.org/dementiafriendly.

The ACT on Alzheimer’s initiative is powered by the Hopkins ACT on Alzheimer’s Action Team which includes members from; the Hopkins Library; City of Hopkins, Hopkins Fire and Police, Cassia Services and Communities; Chapel View Health Care Center; Emerald Crest of Minnetonka and Augustana Open Circle, Volunteers of America – Elder Homestead of Minnetonka, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Hopkins Elks, and The Glenn. For more information, please contact Laura Herman at 952-697-5373 or Laura.Herman@cassialife.org

Augustana Care Open Circle Adult Day Services offers three convenient locations throughout the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area. Each of our locations offer programs, recreation, personal care, respite and social connections to individuals with memory loss or other emotional or physical needs. Contact one of our centers to learn how Augustana Care Open Circle can support care partners to find balance and meaning in a life touched by memory loss or other diagnosis. We offer care consultations that are targeted to the needs and values of caregivers. Click here for more information.