For Immediate Release
Contact: Amanda Cavaleri, Connect the Ages, Founder & CEO
DENVER PLEDGES TO BECOME DEMENTIA FRIENDLY
Part of groundbreaking national effort to support people with dementia and foster quality of life for them and their caregivers
Announcement made at today’s White House Conference on Aging
Denver, CO – In 2015, there are an estimated 65,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease living in Colorado and this number is projected to rise to 92,000 in the next decade, creating an urgent need to support people with dementia and their caregivers.
In a groundbreaking national effort, Denver is heeding that call and today announced that it will become “dementia friendly.” A dementia friendly community is defined as one that is informed, safe and respectful of individuals with dementia and their families, provides supportive options, and fosters quality of life. The announcement was made today at the White House Conference on Aging.
“Denver and the broader Colorado community have four pertinent assets that enable us to pursue dementia friendliness in partnership with the Dementia Friendly America initiative. We have a robust Baby Boomer population, a continuous Millennial migration, an intense focus on quality of life, and supportive startup and technology communities,” said Amanda Cavaleri, CEO of Connect the Ages and a leader of the Denver DFA pilot community. “With that combination of assets, I believe Denver and the state of Colorado are uniquely positioned to take an entrepreneurial, technological, and intergenerational approach to working toward dementia friendliness, so we are thrilled to be a part of this movement.”
Led by the Dementia Friendly America initiative (DFA), Denver is taking action by leveraging tailored resources in business, community-based services and supports, faith communities, health care communities, legal and financial services, local government and residential settings. The work toward dementia friendliness will involve:
- Raising awareness about dementia and transforming attitudes
- Having supportive options that foster quality of life
- Supporting caregivers and families touched by the disease
- Promoting meaningful participation in community life
- Reaching those who are underserved
Several Colorado-based organizations have already agreed to be part of this effort in Denver, including Catalyst, the Colorado Technology Association, Connect the Ages, and Prime Health.
Denver joins communities from across the nation in today’s announcement including: Tempe, AZ; Santa Clara County, CA; Prince George's County, MD; Knoxville, TN; and the state of West Virginia.
“Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be devastating to American families, but we are not powerless to support those living with the disease, their caregivers and loved ones,” said Senator Bill Frist, national spokesperson for Dementia Friendly America. “Starting in these communities, we’re building a nationwide effort to educate Americans about dementia, equip business owners and first responders to recognize and assist those with memory loss, and empower people with Alzheimer’s and dementia to engage independently and safely in community life for as long as possible.”
Dementia Friendly America is building on the leadership of ACT on Alzheimer’s and 34 dementia friendly communities in Minnesota it created. The model employed in Minnesota includes a rigorous, community-based process that brings people together to help a community create a supportive environment for people with dementia. More than 50 organizations – including AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, CVS/Caremark, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National League of Cities, and USAgainstAlzheimer’s – have joined forces to make dementia friendly communities a reality across America through DFA with the goal of piloting 15 communities by 2016.
As of 2014 there were 234,000 Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in Colorado, generating 266 million hours of unpaid care. Additionally, the physical and emotional impact of dementia caregiving is estimated to have resulted in $128 million in health care spending on caregivers in 2014 alone.
DFA is set to launch a web-portal in late summer, which will include sector-specific tools and resources for those interested in working toward dementia friendliness. Those interested in learning more about the initiative are encouraged to visit the website, www.dfamerica.org, which will be updated on an ongoing basis as the tools and resources are being developed.
The Dementia Friendly America initiative (DFA) is a cross-sector, national effort leveraging tailored resources and tools to equip all community sectors to support those with dementia and their caregivers and families. By 2016, the Dementia Friendly America initiative will pilot 15 dementia friendly communities across the nation.