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May 23, 2017 | Happenings

Dementia: Creating a Community That Cares

Chances are you may know someone with dementia, whether it’s a family member, friend, coworker or neighbor. In 2015, approximately 115,000 people in Wisconsin had dementia, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, a number that’s expected to increase to 242,000 by 2040. In the years ahead, the organization anticipates there will be fewer family caregivers to provide support.

That’s one reason Hudson and St. Croix County are taking proactive steps to help individuals with dementia maintain daily living activities with dignity while providing caregivers with a network of support.

Dementia and Memory Loss

Dementia is a general term for a number of conditions characterized by a decline in memory and cognitive function, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.

Those with memory loss often withdraw to their homes, but isolation can make the condition worse. Creating a supportive community that helps make it easier for those with dementia to visit the grocery store, coffee shop and the bank is in everyone’s best interest.

A Task Force Makes Inroads

The Dementia-Friendly Community Coalition, established last year in Hudson and St. Croix County, is currently working to help the community recognize, accept and support individuals with dementia and their caregivers.

By encouraging collaboration between public health agencies, businesses, public safety organizations, government and neighbors, the task force hopes to build an infrastructure that supports this growing segment of the population.

“We want to work toward developing support for the family caregiver to reduce stress and burden, and to enhance activity and socialization of the person diagnosed so they can both remain healthy and engaged,” Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) Dementia Care Specialist Nancy Abrahamson told the Hudson Star Observer.

At Hudson Physicians we hope to improve lives of those with dementia and those who care for someone with memory challenges.

How can you participate?

A dementia friendly community thrives with the involvement of both businesses and individual residents. If you are interested in making your community dementia friendly, contact Nancy Abrahamson, Dementia Care Specialist at ADRC, phone 715.381.4411 or visit www.sccwi.us/adrc.

Volunteers Needed

Are you looking to make a difference in the lives of many? Join a dementia friendly task force or coalition in your area! Volunteers are needed with a variety of skills for a wide range of tasks from making phone calls and assembling materials to training businesses and doing community outreach. Training and materials are provided. Contact Nancy Abrahamson, Dementia Care Specialist at ADRC, phone 715.381.4411 or visit www.sccwi.us/adrc.