A dementia-friendly community is a city or county where more people understand dementia and there is less fear or avoidance of it. They are communities who choose to see dementia as a disability that changes over time and take action to ensure care partners and people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias can continue to engage in their local community activities and be supported by efforts that create a “dementia capable” culture for families.
In December, the Georgia Gerontology Society awarded five grants to foster adoption of dementia-friendly practices in Georgia. One of the grants was awarded to Orchard at Brookhaven, a new assisted living and memory care opening spring of 2019. Robin Andrews Smith, Orchard’s family advocate, along with Orchard’s Owner Arkadiy Yakubov and Executive Director Leslie Finkley, had have a great interest in the Dementia Friendly Georgia initiative, as the soon to open assisted living and memory cares is prepared to will implement a more respectful mindset of service approaches when it comes to dementia. The community’s vision is to provide families with more specific choice offerings along the wide continuum of dementia-related needs.
Currently, there is still great stigma, myth, and misunderstanding about the 5 million Americans living with some form of dementia. The condition is not just a memory disorder as many might think, but is, in fact, a collection of symptoms caused by more than 120 different kinds of medical conditions and is very unique person to person.
In 2020, the community plans to launch a membership program available for couples, caregiving people who are caring for a spouse in their own home but who would benefit from educational, dining, and activity offerings provided at the residential community.