DHS partnership seeks to improve understanding of dementia at community level

March 28, 2019

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging Services (DAS) has become the newest partner in a global effort to improve community-level understanding and responsiveness to the needs of people who have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Dementia Friends USA, administered by Dementia Friendly America in the United States, is an initiative developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom. Dementia Friends USA is intended to improve the public’s understanding of dementia—how it affects people and how individuals can make a difference for those affected by dementia.

DHS funded five mini-grants administered through the Georgia Gerontology Society (GGS) for dementia-friendly community efforts. These grants of $2,000 each will assist with activities such as organizing focus groups or hosting and publicizing events for communities that are working to become dementia-friendly.

“There is no time like now to improve understanding of dementias among Georgians,” said Gov. Brian P. Kemp. “Our state’s aging population is one of the fastest-growing in the country, and almost everyone is touched in some way by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. I am glad that Georgia is part of this important initiative.”

It is estimated that by the year 2025, there will be more than 190,000 Georgians with Alzheimer’s, compared with 150,000 currently. In Georgia, an estimated 80 percent of seniors with self-reported cognitive impairment have not been evaluated or treated, according to researchers with Emory University.

“Georgia is one of only 20 states that offer this proactive approach for reaching out to people with dementia at the local level,” said DHS Commissioner Robyn A. Crittenden. “We are proud to offer this initiative to Georgians who seek information and alternatives for their loved ones in their communities.”

Dementia Friendly America grants one sublicense per state to deploy the Dementia Friends USA curriculum. DAS secured the sublicense for Georgia in collaboration with a strategy group representing health care, academia, county governments, nonprofits, Area Agencies on Aging and people living with dementia.

To learn more about the Dementia Friends USA initiative, visit https://dementiafriendsusa.org/.

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