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Previously, I have passed along information about cities in Germany, England, and Australia who have developed a formal process whereby cities in those countries could advertise themselves as "a Dementia Friendly Community." To the list I now add Belgium. It's not that they just started, it's just that I just found my notes about their program. The founding members where the cities of Marche, Mons, Mouseron, Providence of Liege, and their national Alzheimer's association (a veryo forward-thinking group of people).
Currently, there are many more membersand cities working on membership. the goals of the program are to persuade civil society's actors (politicians and civic leaders) to:...
Everyone is a full and complete human being entirled to be treated as such regardless of a diagnosis of some form of dementia or age.
Living with a cognitive disease wrecking havoc whith his brain; a disease which is incurable and ends in a death stripped of most of the lements of human dignity; a disease which disrupts and sometimes destroys lifelong relationships, attacks self esteem, and in many cases fundamentally changes a person into someone no one knows - is a life familiar to Richard Taylor. He has, for the past eleven years, lived with the diagnosis of dementia, probably of the Alzheimer's type. 5 million+ Americans also walk with Richard down this road less traveled. An additional 5 million Americans struggle with other forms of dementia. Within the next twenty years, more than 35 million Americans will be wearing the same shoes Richard wears today.
Refusing to let others treat or view him as an incomplete or damaged person, Richard's first hand experience, his keen mind, and his ability to turn himself inside out and write down and express his deepest fears and feelings, has led him to his current status as one of the leaders of thought, action, and support for a new respect and approach to elders and to individuals who are living with one of the 50+ forms of dmentia.
he was the first to become sensitized to the relationship between how we treat older people and how we treat people with dementia - as damaged goods, incomplete human beings, with little or nothing to contribute to family or society. At least that is how they were viewed in many quarters beore Richard Taylor picked up his pen and opened his mouth and started to collect email addresses.
Speaking to members of Congress and their staffs at a benefit concert (another word for a fundraiser for you-know-who, and it wasn't Glen) featuring Glen Campbell, who recently announced he is in the early stages of Dementia, probably of the Alzheimer's type, the CEO of the National Alzheimer's Association proclaimed, The release of the National Alzheimer's Plan is a huge historic moment for our cause. I want to thank all the members of Congress for their support of the National Alzheimer's Project Act," Johns said. "Your leadership has made it possible to have a plan that creates a platform to address Alzheimer's in America, and we truly appreciate that." Johns also talked about the challenge ahead, applauding Campbell and his family for their bravery as they publically face this disease.
He neglected to mention this is what the organization has sort of been trying to do for the past twenty five years; it took more than five years for Congress to pass the enabling legislation, and thus far they haven't approved one cent to fund it; to the Association's credit, sort of, it was their pestering, no the leadership of the Congress, that got it passed; this plan passes the responsibility all on to the President's Cabinet, while still leaving Congress the ability to under fund or not to fund or cut the funds for it.
"There are 5.4 milllion people today that have this disease, and because of baby boomers like me, that number is going to grow to 16 million in the next 38 years," Johns said. "What I want ot commend Glen and his family for is announcing his diagnosis and staying in the public eye. It sets a precedent and helps to advnce converstaion abou the cause."
As you read the plan, can you hear the voices of those living with the symptoms of dementia?
If you want to stay in their lives,
then stay in their today!
A dear friend of mine heard those words from the lips of her dear mother for the first time, and they brought her to tears. Inevitable as we know they are once we have been told, "You have dementia, probably of this or that type" hearing them, looking into the fear-filled eyes of a loved one who is speaking these words, "I am scared. I feel lost. Who are you?" reach deep into our hearts and minds and generate feelings of sadness and despair. Her mother had been having trouble with staying in today, understanding today for a while. Here are some suggestions I have previously thought and spoken about to help our loved ones stay connected with you, us, today! On a piece of heavy paper print these words:
I am ____________________________ and then put a small current picture here
My current home is ___________________ a picture of their room
My daughter's name is ___________________ a picture of her
My son's name is ______________________ a picture of him
My granddaught is _____________________ a picture of her