Becoming a Dementia Friendly Community would be a task, but a task well worth it. What is a Dementia Friendly Community? Well, I would say it is when businesses and total community such as faith, law enforcement, agencies, and general public, have an understanding of what the person living with dementia is going through.
We need to raise awareness about dementia and transform attitudes. We should approach dementia with a positive attitude. By raising awareness, we will understand the person living with dementia is doing the best they can do. We, the ones with the good brain, are the ones that will have to change. We can make a difference by having a healthy positive outlook.
Being a Dementia Friendly Community would help us to support caregivers and families touched by this disease. Knowledge is power; I encourage all to learn as much as you can about this disease. My grandmother, Georgianna Royal, always told me we should love one another, help one another and be kind to one another. She would say, “This is what the Bible tells us”.
We should as a community reach out in love, help and kindness. The many caregivers that are caring for those living with dementia need love, help and kindness. Often the caregivers live with the stigma of this disease. We can reduce the stigma with education and when that is accomplished we can better assist those families that are living with this dreaded disease.
When we look at the face of Alzheimer’s disease today in the United States, it is the sixth leading cause of death. Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia currently affects 160,000 older adults in North Carolina. In the United States every 67 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. With these numbers so high, we really should be preparing. How do we prepare you may ask? Well, according to Mark Hensley, Dementia Services Coordinator with NC Division of Aging and Adult Services, we prepare by:
*Raising awareness about dementia and transforming attitudes
*Having supportive options that foster quality of life
*Supporting caregivers and families touched by the disease
*Reaching those who are underserved
My goal in writing this weekly article is an attempt to provide general information about dementia. I will continue to raise awareness and hope our community will become a Dementia Friendly Community. All our lives have been touched by this disease; some have experienced it with their own family and others may know of families that have experienced it. This disease is ever present in all our lives.
I shared not too long ago about my Uncle Shug Royal. He passed away April 30, 2012. He suffered with Alzheimer’s disease. I also had an aunt to suffer with Alzheimer’s disease, Aunt Matel Royal Viall. She passed away Jan. 9, 2017. I have worked with many caregivers over the years; I know it is tough. The stories they have shared, their defeats and their victories, are many. In North Carolina by the year 2025, one in five North Carolinians will be 65 years old and older. This is alarming, so we need to prepare!
You can contact Mark Hensley at Mark.Hensley@dhhs.nc.gov. You can contact Alzheimer’s North Carolina at www.alznc.org. You can reach Lesia R. Henderson at email@example.com.
Remember “Until there is a Cure, there is Care”. Hope you have a “Best Day Ever.”
Lesia Henderson is a Positive Approach to Care Independent Trainer and Sampson County Department of Aging Family Caregiver Support Specialist.