Families in every city, town, and rural area in Minnesota are feeling the effects of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Relatives, friends, colleagues, and neighbors are touched by the disease, and many want to help.
Litchfield is one of up to 43 action communities throughout the state taking steps to create a dementia friendly culture, which is informed, safe, and respectful of people living with dementia and their families, provides supportive features community-wide, and fosters quality of life for everyone. Every part of Litchfield can take steps to create a dementia friendly community, such as:
- Businesses that train employees on interacting with customers who have dementia
- Clinics that promote early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and provide care and support options
- Faith communities that welcome and engage people living with dementia and their families
- Residential settings that offer services and activities adapted for memory loss issues
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are 91,000 Minnesotans age 65 and older with the disease and thousands more with other dementias. The disease also touches nearly 250,000 family members and friends who are caregivers. In Litchfield, an estimated 137 people over the age of 65 will have dementia, and in the Litchfield Area those numbers expand to 241 people. As a response to this reality, Litchfield is using an evidence-based community toolkit to assess current strengths and gaps in meeting needs related to Alzheimer’s, to identify community goals and ways to respond, and to determine action steps to achieve the goals.
In order to move towards a more dementia friendly community, the Litchfield ACT on Alzheimer’s team is building a team to assess the needs of the community. We are looking for people who would be willing to join the assessment team or people who would be willing to be a participant in our survey’s and interviews.
The Litchfield ACT on Alzheimer’s team will be hosting a community event to kick off the start of our project and community involvement. The event will be a showing of the film “Still Alice” with Sandy Oltz, Julianne Moore’s consultant, giving a short speech before. This event will be held on Friday, July 22 at 6 pm at the Little Theater at the Litchfield High School. This event is free to the community and everyone is welcome to learn more about dementia and Alzheimer’s and what our team is doing to make the Litchfield Area more dementia friendly. You can RSVP to the even by going online to www.meekermemorial.org/calendar/ or by calling (320)693-4590. On behalf of the Litchfield ACT on Alzheimer’s team and the Meeker Memorial Hospital, we invite you to come by.
To learn more about this important work and how to get involved, please contact Alexa Deal, MMH Communications Intern at firstname.lastname@example.org.