Sept. 12, 2019 - As Oak Park’s population ages, local leaders recognize a growing need to increase awareness and recognition of the signs of dementia and to train people to communicate and interact with individuals living with the debilitating condition.
With this in mind, the Village is partnering with the Oak Park Township, Oak Park Library and Park District of Oak Park in a new initiative to have the Village designated as a Dementia Friendly Community by the non-profit organization Dementia Friendly America.
A dementia friendly community is a village, town, city or county that is informed, safe and respectful of individuals with the disease, their families and caregivers and provides supportive options that foster quality of life.
Local governments in dementia-friendly communities often plan and implement housing, transportation, public spaces and emergency response that enable people with dementia and care partners to thrive.
To get the process underway in Oak Park, the Village’s Aging in Place Commission will host a kickoff meeting from 8 a.m. to noon on Oct. 17 at the Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave. The focus of the meeting will be to bring the public and community leaders together to learn about and discuss dementia and develop an action plan for the future.
Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to hearing from a panel of community leaders and participating in group breakout sessions, participants at the Oct. 17 event will hear a presentation from Dr. Raj C. Shah, Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Rush Medical College. Dr. Shah also is co-director of the Center for Community Health Equity and also as a Geriatrician for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
According to Dementia Friendly America, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer ’s disease. Based on the 2018 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures report, an estimated 230,000 people in Illinois have dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2025 the number will increase to 260,000 people.
For more information about Oak Park’s dementia-friendly initiative, visit www.oak-park.us/dementiafriendly, call 708.358.5425 or email email@example.com.