How to be a friend: A dementia-friendly community approach

Editor’s note: The following is reprinted from Friday’s edition.

By DANA CORWIN

NY Connects

NY Connects is the Aging and Disability Resource Center for Chautauqua County. You can find a NY Connects in every county in New York State. If you have a long term community care need, we can help. If you need information regarding services and providers of that service, we can help. We are working hard to create a supportive community for people with all kinds of needs. NY Connects is here to help you find what is available and to help you connect to those services. The more people know about what is available, the better they can plan and use the services designed to keep them in the community. Dementia awareness and care is one of those services.

Dementia is not a specific disease — yet we hear it so often. It is a common term used to describe many symptoms or a grouping of symptoms that indicate changes in memory or memory loss that is not typical of routine aging. That said, many people live and carry out their daily business of living life just fine with varying levels of memory loss. It is important to discuss and evaluate these changes with your medical care team, family and friends so you or loved ones can live their best life! The Alzheimer’s Association of Western and Central New York reports that “5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. 16.1 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementias (Alzheimer’s Association, 2018).”

So what do we need to know or do to support our community? We need to become a dementia friendly community! Take the time to look at the on-line program designed for you — our community! It gives you information about how to support the growing numbers of individuals with dementia and their family and friend care partners (Dementia Friendly America, 2018).

Visit dementiafriendsusa.org to learn more about how you can become more aware and gain understanding and create action around supporting people in our community. We encourage all of Chautauqua County to learn more and to become a Dementia Friend! By viewing the website and videos, you become a part of a dementia friendly community and increase awareness. After viewing the videos on the web site, you have the ability to create a printable certificate that you can share with others or post in your business or agency. People with many different ailments and situations can be successful in our community. NY Connects can help. Call NY Connects to find out services available for yourself or others. NY Connects is the place to call to get connected to the help you need. It is confidential and free and focused on your needs. The NY Connects Helpline at 753-4582, 363-4582 or 661-7582 or e-mail us at CCNYC@co.chautauqua.ny.us. If you are in Mayville -please stop and talk with one of our operators. We are located in the HRC Building at the county government offices in Mayville, New York. NY Connects is brought to you by the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging and the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.

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