First Dementia Friendly City in LA County
AZUSA, CA – November 07, 2016 – The City of Azusa, in partnership with Silverado Sierra Vista Memory Care Community, signed a resolution several weeks ago to become a Dementia Friendly City, the first in Los Angeles County. The resolution, signed by Mayor Joseph Rocha states, “The City will work with the Dementia Friendly Community task force to create a community that addresses the needs of individuals living with dementia as well as their caregivers.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of California residents with Alzheimer's disease will double by 2030, a figure that does not account for people affected by other types of dementia. Already, 1.1 million Californian’s care for a loved one with dementia today, and nearly 60% of people caring for a person with dementia rate the stress as high or very high due to the physical and emotional toll.
The city’s resolution aims to address the issue.
Ed Blomendahl, Senior Community Ambassador at Silverado, assembled a task force of community leaders earlier this year to set a vision for a Dementia Friendly Azusa. Silverado is a Southern California-based dementia care provider that was founded 20 years ago with a vision to change the way the world cares for and perceives people with memory-impairing conditions. The company will continue to support the task force by providing education programs, expert guidance and training resources.
“We are delighted that the City of Azusa has recognized the need to bring more awareness to dementia,” shares Blomendahl. “The mission of the task force is to create a Dementia Friendly Azusa by educating the community, instilling respect for people living with memory impairing conditions, and to foster an environment that works to eliminate the stigma often associated with such conditions.”
Mayor Rocha adds, “Individuals affected by memory-impairing conditions include our friends, our families and our neighbors, and the people of Azusa have an opportunity to address it first hand. As I have spoken with Azusa residents, many expressed a need to address this challenge. In fact, the day after we passed the resolution, many more individuals reached out in support.”
With the resolution passed, approved and adopted, one of the first items on the task force’s agenda is to plan a citywide education event. Other efforts include a window cling for businesses that complete Dementia 101 training at silveradolearning.com, Virtual Dementia Tour events during which the public is invited to step into the shoes of someone with memory impairment, and first responder participation in a dementia-training program – compliments of Silverado.
“Silverado is committed to becoming an active part of the communities we serve, and partnering with the City of Azusa to create a dementia friendly community is a part of that commitment,” says Silverado Chairman and CEO Loren Shook. “When we founded Silverado 20 years ago, we set out to do more than provide the best quality of life possible for people affected by memory impairing diseases – we set out to change the world in how people with dementia are treated. This effort is another step toward that mission, providing a model for other cities to follow.”
The Dementia Friendly Azusa task force, which meets regularly at Silverado, is in the process of reviewing as many as a dozen additional action items in support of the effort. The task force is represented by the following groups: local government, fire and police departments, chamber of commerce, healthcare providers, educational organizations – led by Azusa Pacific University, nonprofits, the faith-based community, and local citizens.
In addition, several local businesses have already stepped up to support the initiative. Triad Gym, Marie Calendars, Massage Envy, Grocery Store Outlet and Mexican food eatery, Max’s already have plans to provide employee education and even make changes to their operation.
Businesses, individuals and organizations interested in getting involved can share their contact information with the task force, here: www.silveradocare.com/DementiaFriendlyAzusa.