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DuPage Center works toward a Dementia-Friendly Naperville

Do you have a quiet space for someone who might be feeling anxious or confused? A few minutes with a supportive person might be all that’s needed.

Metropolitan DuPage’s senior program is working with our partners toward a “Dementia-Friendly Naperville” to spread awareness in our community for questions like these.

The dementia friendly designation is an acknowledgment from Dementia Friendly America that the community has made an ongoing commitment to such things as training people how to interact and respond to those who exhibit signs of having memory loss issues, particularly those in businesses and agencies that have frequent contact with the general public.

Read more about this initiative in the Daily Herald.

The first Dementia Friendly Naperville Task Force meeting included talks, panel discussion and networking opportunities for members. Loren Buford, Program Supervisor of Metropolitan DuPage’s senior programs, attended the meeting.

“It’s great to know that someone in government understands the need for community education and awareness and for caregiver assistance,” Loren said about Naperville City Councilwoman Patty Gustin’s remarks. Ms. Gustin talked about her mother’s dementia, what she experienced as a family caregiver, and how this disease impacted her family’s business and sibling relationships.

Another panelist, former school social worker Mary Swenson, talked about her husband’s dementia and her role as his caregiver, as well as his eventual acceptance and understanding of the disease and his subsequent involvement as an advocate for people living with dementia and caregivers. He is featured in a documentary with social worker Susan Frick of Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago.

Learn more about the Task Force meeting in the below Naperville Community Television feature:

Dementia-Friendly Naperville from Naperville News 17 on Vimeo.

What’s next for Metropolitan DuPage?

Both Loren and Carol Crews are certified to provide a Dementia Live Experience to agencies and businesses within DuPage communities; it simulates sensory experiences and perceptions of people living with dementia, such as impaired cognitive thinking, hearing, sight, confusion, inability to focus, heightened awareness of loud noises, and crowds.

They will offer this experience in Naperville as a part of the Naperville Senior Task Force’s Dementia Friendly Initiative. Special thanks to Colette Jordan of the Age Guide, a key supporter of our Senior Programs in DuPage, for introducing this initiative to Naperville and surrounding neighborhoods and counties!

View the Alzheimer’s Society United Against Dementia initiative’s Dementia Friendly Environment checklist