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Dementia Friendly Communities Growing in Pennsylvania

Anneliese Perry, MS, NHA, CECM and Stacie Bonenberger, MOT, OTR/L at the Alzheimer’s Association Spring Education Conference on May 30.

Currently, there are over 400,000 Pennsylvanians, age 65 and older, living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. By 2025, that number will rise to 450,000, impacting approximately 675,000 care partners. That is over one million Pennsylvanians who could benefit from a dementia friendly community that enables individuals, their families, and their caregivers to live well with dementia.

On May 30, 2019, Jewish Healthcare Foundation Senior Quality Improvement Specialists and statewide coordinators of Dementia Friends Pennsylvania, Anneliese Perry, MS, NHA, CECM and Stacie Bonenberger, MOT, OTR/L, were the keynote speakers for the Alzheimer's Association Spring Education Conference, Dementia Friendly Communities Working Together, in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The session explored how communities from around the world have become informed, safe, and respectful of individuals living with dementia. Participants worked in teams to visually create their ideal dementia-friendly community. Perry and Bonenberger shared the origins of the Dementia Friendly Movement and its movement across the nation. Teams were introduced to a change model and began to strategize and developed a road map with action steps that will help lead them to their dementia-friendly community vision.

Currently there are three Dementia Friendly Community Initiatives in Pennsylvania: Bucks County, New Oxford/Hanover, and Dementia Friendly Greater Pittsburgh, where Perry and Bonenberger sit on the leadership committee.

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