As the number of dementia cases continues to increase locally, nationwide and worldwide, there is a growing need for caregivers; health care leadership/staff; clergy; local community government; leadership and general population; all first responders; firemen; and law enforcement to become Dementia Aware.

Specialized training (Dementia Awareness) is necessary to cultivate a deeper understanding and clearer recognition of dementia; how it affects those living with or caring for anyone presenting symptoms and imparts appropriate, competent and sensitive Dementia Aware care and service; supporting not only those with dementia symptoms, but all local community members, as well as their family and professional care providers.

That is why I am so excited that the town of Colma, CA has decided to become Dementia Aware. I recently spoke at the Colma City Council Meeting about the importance of this effort, and it was wonderful that the council members were so receptive to it. In fact, they are helping to establish an effort to get various businesses and organizations in the town to go through training on becoming Dementia Aware.

That is why it was an honor to certify the town and place our “Dementia-Aware Safe Space” sticker on the wall of Colma Town Hall.

Diverse senior and Dementia-Aware care resources and options will assist in providing a quality of life, a safe living environment, appropriate supervision and care, fostering a sense of hope and optimism for first responders, all Colma community members and leadership, as well as for the beleaguered family care providers and those to whom they provide care.

Unfortunately, with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, there are no known processes for recovery. The dementia symptoms will increase and the individual will decline in cognitive ability over time. The dementia sufferer can no longer determine their own course of action, or take responsibility for their actions. Community-wide Dementia-Aware training must be based in the knowledge that all services are provided based in positive reflection and a meaningful understanding by those experiencing dementia symptoms and those who are living with them and caring for them.

In an emergency, people with a cause of dementia and their caregivers may find themselves uprooted or displaced to alternative living arrangements. Extra care and attention must be made to ensure the health, security and safety of the individual with any cause of dementia. Dementia-Awareness training has been uniquely developed to better prepare law enforcement and the fire department to understand and proficiently handle the challenges facing their citizens with dementia, and the ripple effect these challenges have on not just the caregiver, but the entire community

Dementia-Aware trainings, presented in an easy-to-understand and practical method, addresses these individuals’ needs and values, with not only an acknowledgement that personal differences exist, but also a respect for these differences. In order to be sufficiently prepared for these and many other dementia symptoms and challenges, everyone, community wide, must become “dementia-aware.”

To be Dementia Aware is to understand that we can’t stop, fix, or change dementia, but we can manage it and have more positive interactions as we begin to understand what’s behind dementia symptoms.

To learn more about how you can become Dementia Aware, click here.

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