We Believe it’s Time for a Better Understanding of Dementia
Imagine that your mother is beginning to experience memory loss, becoming disoriented in the town center she has known for most of her life.
She feels lost and her growing anxiety and sense of embarrassment manifests itself as frustration, perhaps as anger. She does not admit to being lost or confused as she stops and starts, retracing her steps. Bystanders notice her behavior, which seems inappropriate and off-putting. No one helps her. They do not recognize what they are seeing, missing an opportunity to reach out with understanding and compassion. Unintentionally, witnesses leave your mother feeling frightened and alone.
This disturbing scenario is what has guided us in our Dementia Friendly Initiative. The outward signs of memory impairment in the elderly are frequently missed by family members, as well as strangers, or misinterpreted as psychiatric illness. The social stigma attached to conditions of memory loss causes most seniors to avoid admitting to it or asking for help. Dementia, in all forms, is a source of embarrassment and isolation. We believe it’s time for a better understanding of dementia.
SLR’s History of Leadership in the Dementia Friendly Movement
At Senior Living Residences, we are committed to combating the social stigma of dementia by helping people recognize the signs of memory loss and equipping them with helpful communicative tools. Basic education goes a long way toward improving the way we respond to, engage with, and support those around us who are living with dementia.
- Building Dementia Friendly Cities – We launched our initiative in 2014 with the City of Westfield MA, putting Westfield on the map as the first Dementia Friendly City on the east coast. Since then we have launched active programs throughout Massachusetts in partnerships with Boston, Brookline, Canton, Sharon, Douglas, Arlington, Concord, Methuen, Milford, Mendon, Quincy and Somerville, as well as in Hampton NH, and so many more.
- Educational Programming and CEUs – We developed three educational workshops aimed at building an understanding of dementia for first responders, healthcare professionals, people who work in banks and retail, and the general public. (Available for continuing education credit for Nurses, Social Workers and Case Managers.) Email to inquire.
- Caregiver Support Groups – We established a network of Caregiver Support Groups for families and caregivers of those with dementia. Find one near you »
- Emergency Department Dementia Kit – Created to minimize instances of restraint and over-medication, we give these kits to local hospital emergency departments to train staff on how to better relate with their patients who have dementia.
- Memory Cafés – Our Memory Cafés provide a supportive gathering place for people with varying levels of memory loss to relax and enjoy conversation with family, caregivers and others living with dementia.