Bergen County, New Jersey, launched the Dementia Friendly Initiative to improve understanding and care for those suffering from dementia.

The County of Bergen in New Jersey will launch a Dementia Friendly Initiative in partnership with the Act Now Foundation’s Dementia Resource Center.

The initiative aims to increase awareness and understanding of the disease while working with communities to ensure they are inclusive of those living with dementia. To mark the start of the initiative, the county will host an official Dementia Friendly Initiative Kick-Off on April 27, at Two Bergen County Plaza.

Dementia is a disease that sadly impacts millions of Americans and thousands here in Bergen County every single year. It is critical for those living with this debilitating disease to be cared for with the utmost dignity and equally essential for caregivers to have the support and resources necessary to do this often difficult job,” said Jim Tedesco, Bergen County executive. “Thanks to a new partnership between our Division of Senior Services and the Act Now Foundation, the County’s new ‘Dementia Friendly Initiative’ aims to do just that by supporting caregivers and disseminating information about early detection and prevention.

Bergen County has over 220,000 seniors and approximately 20,000 recorded residents with some form of dementia. In response to the increasing challenges of this growing population, the Bergen County Division of Senior Services is partnering with Act Now Foundation’s Dementia Resource Center to inform and educate residents, businesses, and community groups.

Part of the initiative includes forming an “Action Team” composed of professionals from various sectors who will work together towards the common goal of creating a community in which all community members will work to create dementia-friendly spaces. The team aims to help the community better understand the challenges of those living with dementia and their care partners.

The initiative also aims to give caregivers and those living with dementia improved access to and engagement with the community.

Key goals among Dementia Friendly Communities include:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of dementia and of people living with dementia
  • Increase awareness and understanding of brain health and risk reduction
  • Collaborate with public, private non-profit, and healthcare sectors to better serve people living with dementia and their care partners
  • Address the changing needs of people with dementia and their care partners
  • Create social and cultural environments that are inclusive to those living with dementia
  • And improve the physical environment in public places and systems (i.e., parks, transportation) so that they are dementia friendly

“Dementia is a disease that requires immense support, not only for the patients but also for caregivers,” said Dr Joan Voss, Bergen County commissioner chair pro tempore. “By launching this initiative, the County is committed to providing support and taking an important step in our efforts to eliminate the stigma around the disease and continue to help our residents affected by dementia.”

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