If you are a business owner, part of your city or county’s administration, a first responder, clergy or you just want to learn how to work more effectively with people with dementia, you will want to be part of the Dementia Friendly America – Madison County initiative.  At the kick-off event at Comfort Inn in Collinsville on December 11, community leaders learned about this program from its local sponsors – AgeSmart Community Resources Area Agency on Aging and St. John’s Community Care.

Across Madison County the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is growing — and growing fast. This increase is sure to spark new concerns and will require positive changes to embrace a friendly approach to assist our aging population and help them remain independent.

An estimated 5.5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease.  Of those living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2017, an estimated 5.3 million are age 65 or older, but approximately 200,000 individuals have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

In a groundbreaking effort, communities across the USA are heeding the call to embrace and support these neighbors and their families.  Madison County will be actively participating in the Dementia Friendly America initiative, led by AgeSmart Community Resources and St. John’s Community Care.  Becoming a dementia-friendly community will involve:

  • Raising awareness about dementia and transforming attitudes
  • Connecting the community to resources needed to help customers they believe have memory issues
  • Having supportive options that foster quality of life
  • Supporting caregivers and families touched by the disease
  • Promoting meaningful participation in community life
  • Reaching those who are underserved.

“St. John’s Community Care is a lifeline for many local families living with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, but too many are not aware of resources which can make their caregiving journey easier.  Dementia-Friendly Madison County provides education and resources tailored to different segments of our county – retailers, legal and financial services, faith communities, local government, etc. – all of whom encounter individuals with memory impairments. We can offer these free presentations thanks to a grant from the Illinois Dept. on Aging to AgeSmart Community Resources.”  Nancy Berry, Executive Director, St. John’s Community Care

For more information about bringing this program to your business or organization, contact St. John’s Community Care at 344-5008 or info@stjohnscc.org.