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Dementia Capable Communities Toolkit Available from ACT on Alzheimer’s

Five Minnesota Communities Piloting

Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A new community toolkit is available from ACT on Alzheimer’s to help prepare Minnesota for the personal, social, and budgetary impacts of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Currently, 100,000 Minnesotans live with Alzheimer's disease and the number is growing. The rise in the number of Minnesotans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will bring enormous cost and burden to those with the disease, their families, our communities, and the state.

Communities are acting now to prepare for the impacts of Alzheimer’s.
Working in conjunction with the Community Leadership Group of ACT on Alzheimer’s, Stratis Health lead development of the Dementia Capable Communities Toolkit. The toolkit gives communities a process for coming together and planning how to become dementia capable. This process will strengthen communities, improve overall services, support caregivers, and prepare health care professionals, clergy, service staff, and others who want to know how to best support individuals touched by Alzheimer's. The toolkit offers four clear steps and processes:

  1. Convene key community leaders and members to understand the disease and its implications for communities. Then, bring together an Action Team.
  2. Assess current strengths and gaps in meeting the needs that result from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, using a comprehensive community assessment toolkit.
  3. Analyze your community needs and the issues stakeholders are motivated to act on to set community goals.
  4. ACT Together to establish implementation plans to achieve goals and measure progress.

Five action communities are piloting the toolkit—St. Paul Neighborhood, St. Louis Park, Twin Cities Jewish Community, Walker, and Willmar.

“The toolkit takes a comprehensive look at how communities can support people with dementia and their care givers,” said Emily Farah-Miller, ACT on Alzheimer's project director. “Individuals in the pilot communities have shared that the process of completing the community assessment has expanded their understanding of the impact of dementia and how their own community can take action.”

The toolkit examines all of the key elements of a dementia capable community, including: awareness; information and education for people with dementia and their families; care consultation/counseling/support groups; future planning; wellness programs/risk reduction; meaningful activities; caregiver supports; transportation; independence at home services; residential settings; local government planning; impairment identification and care; and diagnosis, medical management, and pharmacological treatment.

The toolkit is available on the ACT on Alzheimer’s website, where visitors are able to:

  • Learn about dementia capable communities 
  • Download the Dementia Capable Communities Toolkit
  • Obtain resources that will assist professionals in understanding, assessing, diagnosing, and managing dementia 

Through ACT on Alzheimer’s, over 50 organizations and 150 individuals have been working together in a voluntary collaboration on five shared goals to:

  • Identify and invest in promising approaches that reduce costs and improve care
  • Increase early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and improve ongoing care and support
  • Sustain families by offering them information, resources, and in-person support
  • Equip communities to be “dementia capable” to support residents who are touched by Alzheimer’s disease
  • Raise awareness and reduce stigma by engaging communities

To learn the ways you can act, visit ACT on Alzheimer’s

See related story: Large Scale Impact Needed for Communities to Prepare for Coming Alzheimer's Epidemic - ACT on Alzheimer's is preparing Minnesota for the budgetary, social, and personal impacts of the disease