The Cambridge ACT on Alzheimer’s group held an informative community event Wednesday, June 25, at the new SAC’s Senior Enrichment Center in Cambridge.
Giving an update on the effort were Debbie Richman from the Alzheimer’s Association, Lori Vrolson of the Central Minnesota Council on Aging and several local community leaders and volunteers who said they are personally aware of those affected by dementia and the importance of educating the community.
Members of the ACT on Alzheimer’s Action Team were introduced. They invited people to hear the message on enhancing the lives of and better servicing those with dementia and their caregivers. It was about a year ago when key members of Cambridge committed their support to become a dementia-friendly community.
Richman noted Minnesota has almost 30 communities involved with ACT on Alzheimer’s, which is a statewide, volunteer-driven effort that was born from a working group called Prepare Minnesota for Alzheimer’s 2020.
“It’s been incredibly exciting to see how it’s defined in each community,” she said. “What does Cambridge need?”
Others presenting at the community meeting were Todd Klein, of GracePointe Crossing; Lynda Woulfe, city administrator for the city of Cambridge; and Isanti County Commissioner Susan Morris. Chris Caulk, chief deputy with the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office, also discussed the need for ongoing training so officers know how to handle dementia-related incidents.
Diane Sibley, from Anoka-Ramsey Community College, helped define a dementia-friendly community through a handout. Her points included early diagnosis and quality care and support, specialized memory loss services, dementia-aware and responsive client services and customer service, a welcoming and supportive spiritual environment, independent living and quality of life support emergency preparedness and response and suitable transportation and public spaces.
She went over the steps in becoming a dementia-friendly community, as well. The steps start with convening, which is happening now, and continue with assessing the current strengths, gaps and barriers in the community, analyzing those findings and acting together.
“We live in a great community that works very well together. That in itself is worth celebrating,” said Julie Tooker, community relations director for GracePointe Crossing, who is leading the cause.
For more information about the Cambridge ACT on Alzheimer’s effort, call Tooker at 763-691-6192.