WCF Supports Work Toward a Dementia-Friendly City

The Board of Directors from the Whitewater Community Foundation presented their first 2017 Community Action Grant on July 12 with a check for $1,000 to Seniors in the Park.

Numerous volunteers are working with Seniors in the Park to make Whitewater a dementia-friendly community. The funds go toward communication and community awareness of the everyday difficulties experienced by people affected by dementia and the stresses experienced by their caregivers. The Foundation got a crash course in dementia awareness and a sneak peak at the brochures that Seniors in the Park is putting together to spread the word about screenings, trainings, business trainings and resources available to make Whitewater a friendly and safe place for our retired population.

As the Boomer generation ages, rates of dementia will rise sharply. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030, 75.6 million people in the world will be affected by dementia. Whitewater boasts a large retired population, which is part of this worldwide “Silver Tsunami.” In response, Whitewater’s forward-thinking committee with Seniors in the Park has been working diligently to face the challenges of dementia head-on.

Seniors in the Park is partnering with the Irvin L. Young Library to create a Memory Café, a monthly social hour for caregivers and those who are affected by dementia. There will be activities and discussions available. In addition, the Mulberry Glen Senior Living Community, which regularly fundraises and gives toward dementia-related causes, will also partner with the group to provide trained staff and events.

The committee has already sponsored one session with 15-minute early detection screenings for dementia and will be holding another screening on September 20, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. The last screening exceeded expectations and resulted in a waitlist, so making an appointment will be necessary for the next one. Please contact Deb Weberpal at DWeberpal@whitewater-wi.gov.

In addition to early-detection screenings, the group has committed to Purple Angel trainings for local businesses to learn signs of dementia and how to redesign a store and signage in a way that is more friendly for someone who may be experiencing tunnel-vision or confusion while shopping.

The Whitewater Community Foundation board applauds these efforts to create more strength and flexibility in our community. A safe community for our retired population is also a safe community for our children, our cyclists and pedestrians, and our disabled population. We are so excited to be a part of this project!