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Coalition works to make communities dementia friendly

The Dementia Friendly Communities Coalition is comprised of three Task Force Groups 1) Collaboration and Communication, 2) Training and Education, and 3) Care-Giver Support. The coalition’s goal is to make the St. Croix County area dementia friendly. For more information contact Angie Pilgrim at (715)386-9490

The Dementia Friendly Communities Coalition is continuing its mission to make communities, the Hudson area and beyond more dementia friendly.

The coalition that was convened by the St. Croix Valley Foundation is comprised of three task force groups:

• Collaboration and Communication

• Training and Education

• Caregiver Support.

The group recently held a meeting at Hudson Hospital to discuss the progress of each task force.

Nancy Abrahamson, dementia care specialist for St. Croix County, reminded those attending of the coalition's charge — to provide individuals with dementia and other diagnoses the opportunity to live full and independent lives as members of their communities for as long as possible and to provide support for their caregivers.

The communication group reported that they are looking to "provide a roadmap to resources available to individuals and families for help like the Aging and Disability Resource Center resources guide."

They are also looking into collaboration with area nonprofits and area churches to increase awareness and education about dementia and decrease the stigma associated with it.

The Caregiver Support Task Force said they are looking into ways to connect with caregivers through support groups. They also want to help families take a proactive approach for planning the future once a diagnosis of dementia has been made. They want to make residents aware of the support groups that exist and to help caregivers take advantage of respite programs in the area.

The training and education group is looking to work with schools to educate young people about dementia and caregiving including talking with students enrolled in the Hudson High School HealthCare Academy. They will be working to train area public safety personnel about serving those with dementia. The group is also identifying what they believe are the best educational publications on dementia.

Angie Pilgrim of SCVF said, "I continue to be inspired by the passion and vision around this topic and look forward to working with the coalition to make the St. Croix County area dementia friendly."

The coalition is always looking for new participants on any of the task forces. Upcoming meeting dates include:

• Communication and Collaboration, Monday, April 10 at noon at Woodland Hills

• Caregiver Support, Tuesday, April 11 at 11 a.m. at Red Cedar Canyon

• Training and Education, Friday, April 21 at 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church

For more information or to participate contact Pilgrim at 715-386-9490

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604