Fort Worth is the first city in Texas to join the Dementia Friendly America movement. We are leading the way in Texas, Tarrant County, and Fort Worth to enrich the lives of persons living with dementia. Every sector of life in Fort Worth must be educated-businesses, restaurants, grocery stores, healthcare, residential care, first responders, faith communities, libraries, schools, and neighborhoods. Education across the sectors can result in awareness about the rapidly increasing numbers of persons affected by dementia.
Working with Age-Friendly Fort Worth and the City of Fort Worth, we are educating and certifying businesses, institutions, and organizations on age-friendly and dementia friendly business practices. This education has a ripple effect out into the greater community where employees are educated about dementia. Once educated, they can then help to expand our outreach to their families, friends, faith communities, civic organizations, etc.
We have a Memory Cafe' (5th Street Cafe': a Dementia Friendly Social Club) in which provides an opportunity for persons living with dementia and their family, friends, and care partners to enjoy a stigma-free, "leave your diagnosis at the door" social time to visit ad make new friends who are on the same journey. This will also be a learning lab for students who are considering careers in geriatrics and dementia care. This education component is being done in collaboration with the Harris College of Health Professions at TCU. We have also added a Care Partner Support Group component at the same time & location. After attending their respective meetings, we gather for a light lunch around conversation. The support group is lead by Dr. Michelle Kimzey, Assistant Professor at Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences and Pam Brandon, Owner/Found of Age-u-Cate Training Institue.
Our weekly Dementia Friendly Chapel provides an opportunity for persons who can no longer attend traditional worship services with their family to be able to do that in a Dementia Friendly setting. We have developed a toolkit, a "how-to", that will be shared at no cost to any faith community wanting to serve persons living with dementia in this way. This service is offered virtually and can be viewed on-demand from our YouTube channel.
We also provide dementia training to law enformcement and first
Social isolation contributes to earlier onset of dementia symptoms and tends to worsen the symptoms of those already dealing with a dementia disease. As a result of the pandemic, isolation of older adults has increased. This year marks three years of serving older adults and those with dementia through our virtual programs.. Dementia Friendly Fort Worth offers three, daily activity programs, Dementia Friendly Chapel and 5th Street Cafe': A Dementia-Friendly Social Club in a virtual setting.
Seeing the needs of persons living at home with dementia, we developed a daily on-line interactive program: Activities for Persons Living with Dementia. This program has made a difference for persons who have participated and for their care partners. In collaboration with community partners, we see the need to address the social isolation of persons already diagnosed with a dementia and to reach out to persons who are isolated but not yet exhibiting signs of a dementia.
Additionally, we see the need to help address the "digital divide" in minority communities and are seeking funders for a GrandPad(R) program, these are senior friendly devices which would enable seniors to participate in specialized programs for those with dementia and those at risk of developing dementia. Additionally, this would enable families to stay in closer contact with isolated seniors.
We also seek on-going support for these programs, virtual and in-person which benefiting lonely, isolated seniors. We need funds for administration of programming (including outreach, volunteer recruitment and coordination, arranging for refreshments, coordination and record-keeping for the education component, etc.), and supplies. We also need volunteers to be present, host, serve refreshments, etc.