Waterloo First City in Iowa to Join Dementia Friendly Network

posted 7/19/2019 in Press Releases

Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging CEO Donna Harvey announed today that the City of Waterloo is the first city in Iowa to join the Dementia Friendly America® (DFA) network.  The announcement was made at the kick-off to UNI’s Gerontology Conference: Building a Dementia-Friendly Community on Friday, July 19.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.8 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s – the most well-known and common type of dementia. In Iowa more than 64,000 people over 65 have Alzheimer’s with over 136,000 caregivers providing unpaid care for these individuals.

“With the numbers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s increasing rapidly, we saw the need to work together to address the challenges facing the community,” stated Donna Harvey.  “We are fortunate to have great community partners involved with this project who are willing to work together to find innovative solutions to make a difference in the lives of those affected by dementia.”

“It has been a privilege to be part of the Dementia Friendly Waterloo project,” stated Carol Will, a Waterloo community member. “Through education and community discussion we can enhance the compassion of our community when interacting with those who are living with dementia and those who care for them. We are off to a great start!”

Community organizations who worked together on the certification include VGM, KBBG, City of Waterloo, NorthStar Community Services, Home Instead Senior Care, UNI- Gerontology Program, Veridian Credit Union, Alzheimer’s’ Association, 1st Presbyterian Church, Iowa Legal Aid, and Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging. Through joining the DFA network, the community will have access to resources to help people living with dementia, the ability to work with other communities across the country, and highlight the work done in the community.

DFA is a national network of communities, organizations and individuals seeking to ensure that communities across the US are equipped to support people living with dementia and their caregivers.  Dementia friendly communities foster the ability of people living with dementia to remain in the community and engage and thrive in day to day living. A dementia friendly community is a city that is informed, safe and respectful of individuals it the disease, their families and caregivers and provides supportive options to foster quality of life.

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