Monroe County Health Department has announced the Monroe County Dementia-Friendly Community Initiative. The idea for the project was based on a statewide effort to better support those with dementia.
Health department officials said dementia-friendly communities are places where individuals with dementia are able to live as independently as possible, continue to be part of their communities, are met with understanding and given support when necessary. Additionally, dementia-friendly communities build infrastructure to support and provide services to individuals with dementia.
With the aging population, the number of individuals with dementia in the community is expected to grow. In 2015, 16 percent of Monroe County residents were age 65 or older. By 2020, it is estimated that nearly 30 percent of county residents will be the 65 and older with that proportion remaining until year 2040.
Funding for this project was provided through a grant from the Helen Daniels Bader Fund, a Bader Philanthropy in Milwaukee. The goals of the Monroe County Dementia-Friendly Community Initiative include:
- Partnering with Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to implement Project Lifesaver, a program that allows law enforcement to quickly locate those with dementia who wander. Those who are part of the program wear a personalized wristband that emits a tracking signal. When caregivers notify law enforcement that the person is missing, they are able to find the individual’s location with a tracking system.
- Expand Memory Café, a place to meet with others living with dementia and their care partner in a supportive community, to another site.
- Create a Dementia-Friendly Coalition. The next coalition meeting will be held Tuesday, March 27 at 1:30 p.m. in the Monroe County Board room.
- Provide education to local communities, businesses, and organizations on how to provide assistance to those with dementia
“We’re very excited about this project,” said Monroe County health officer, Sharon Nelson. “Through collaboration with multiple county partners, we want those with dementia, their families, and caregivers to feel supported by the community.”
For questions about the Monroe County Dementia-Friendly Community Initiative, contact Julie Anderson, public health nurse, at 608-269-8666.