Addressing Alzheimer’s in Paynesville

Over the next decade, the number of people with Alzheimer’s who are 65 and older is projected to increase 40 percent. In Paynesville, where the largest segment of the population is made up of people 70-years-old or older, leaders recognized this and took action. Paynesville may be a small town, but it’s having a big influence on how communities across the country care for elders, specifically those with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia

In 2015, as a result of work led by the Paynesville ACT on Alzheimer’s committee, the city declared itself “dementia-friendly.” CentraCare Health is proud to be a partner with the Paynesville ACT on Alzheimer’s committee and continues to support this work today.

Becoming “dementia-friendly” was no small feat. It included sessions with schools, church groups, businesses and community service groups to educate about dementia and how to interact with those who have dementia. It also included training for local police and first responders. The ultimate goal: to create an environment where people with Alzheimer’s feel included and supported so they can stay independent longer.

The project was made possible by an $18,000 grant from Minnesota ACT on Alzheimer’s. From the get go, the community was engaged. The CentraCare team helped facilitate the kickoff meeting, where 90 people attended and shared their ideas, which helped set the direction for the work. This sparked creative solutions, including the idea to enlist volunteers who help people with dementia – or their caregivers – as they shop for groceries locally at Teal’s Market.

DuDonne Andrie, community relations coordinator for CentraCare Health – Paynesville, serves on the ACT on Alzheimer’s committee, and says this project has brought out the best in the people of Paynesville. “The way everyone has come together to support people with Alzheimer’s in our community is inspiring and it shows just how much people care.”

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