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Building More Hospitable Communities for Those with Dementia

December 19, 2016

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As the number of people projected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia rises, it’s more crucial than ever to build dementia-friendly communities.

Have you ever wondered what someone with dementia experiences? This past fall, Augustana Care offered an event to help the public experience what someone with dementia goes through on a daily basis. Dark glasses obscure vision; headphones offer chaotic, conflicting voices; and thick gloves make it harder to pick up objects and use them. Those who attended the event began to understand why loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other conditions become so frustrated.

The event was part of an exciting new initiative to build communities friendlier to people with Alzheimer’s, and was featured in a recent article. Read the article at this link.

In fall, 2016, our Westside Mission Advancement Council, Augustana Chapel View Apartments and Health Care Center, Augustana Open Circle of Hopkins and Emerald Crest by Augustana Care received funding from Act on Alzheimer’s. The grant will enable Augustana Care and other organizations to offer events and launch initiatives that help the community of Hopkins become more hospitable to people with dementia.

A series of informational meetings will provide information about the dementia spectrum, resources and the upcoming initiative. The group will then form an action team that includes individuals from all sectors of the community and begin community-wide interviews to catalog strengths and needs to be addressed. After the information is compiled, a kick-off event will allow the group to review findings with Hopkins residents and determine next steps.

The long-term goal, says Augustana Open Circle Director Gail Skoglund, is to cultivate solutions that will be sustainable in the future, far beyond when the grant funding runs out.