Group aims to educate, and erase fears surrounding dementia

Group aims to educate, and erase fears surrounding dementia

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Goal: Create dementia-friendly community

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Understanding the challenges of people living with Alzheimer’s/dementia and helping them feel welcome and part of our community is the goal of a newly relaunched initiative called Dementia Friendly Clark County. And it’s an effort everyone is being asked to join.

“There’s a lot of stigma around dementia and Alzheimer’s as a whole,” dementia-friendly educator Cody Yamada said.

Unlocking the secrets and erasing the fear around the debilitating brain disease is just part of the mission of Dementia Friendly Clark County. Yamada is on the education team.

“I think the one big thing that’s missing is that part of inclusivity; having those folks living with dementia who are still able to voice their concerns, voice their needs, and the things they want to be heard, and how we as a community can be supportive of them, he said.

Organizers say building a dementia-friendly community takes everyone — individuals, businesses, the medical community, and local government — all coming together to help create an environment that’s welcoming and respectful of people living with memory problems or other cognitive challenges.

“A community that works better for dementia works better for everyone,” Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health director Dr. Dylan Wint said.

A cornerstone of the movement is bringing residents together to support their often-misunderstood neighbors. Wint said the time patients spend in treatment for their dementia is a very small portion of their overall journey of the disease.

“And to the extent that we’re seeing them here and taking great care of them here and yet sending them back to homes that are unsuitable for them, stores that are confusing to them, streets that they cannot navigate they can get lost on, to the extent that we don’t pay attention to that we’re really not delivering care,” Wint said.

The first meeting will take place on March 15. (KLAS)

Jeffrey Klein with Nevada Senior Services helps people with aging disabilities lead safe, productive lives, and provides resources for caregivers. He said people need to understand the disease to care.

“Education is so important because people are afraid,” Klein said. “When they see people’s behaviors not quite what they think it should be in our current world, it makes people concerned.”

Respectful actions with heartfelt concern are Dementia Friendly’s goal. Keeping people with dementia living as independently as possible, while staying safe and making them feel welcome in the community that is their home.

“Getting involved doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in dementia, it just means you have to care that people with dementia are out there and that they’re living their lives in your shop, or your neighborhood, and that by helping them, you help all the rest of us,” Wint said.

If you’d like to register for the first Dementia Friendly meeting being held on March 15, you can register at this link.


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