DHS launches initiative to improve Georgians understanding of dementia, support of those living with the disease
ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging Service (DAS) today launched a new initiative to help communities learn how they can become better friends, neighbors and relatives to people who live with dementia.
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.
“Dementia affects everyone. It affects relatives, friends, neighbors and communities,” said DHS Commissioner Robyn Crittenden. “With that in mind, we had to figure out a way to get the community more involved. Dementia Friends is a piece of the puzzle in helping Georgia realize a dementia-capable future. Together, we can help our communities become a more welcoming, safe and accessible place for people living with dementia.”
During today’s kickoff event it was announced that funding for mini-grants administered through the Georgia Gerontology Society (GGS) will be awarded to assist in facilitating Dementia Friends in local communities.
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.
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 Dementia Friends Georgia visit aging.georgia.gov/dementia-friends.