Page 12 - March 2018 Senior Scene Magazine
P. 12

Senior Scene® | March Issue
Message from Secretary Jeffrey S. Bragg Florida Department of Elder Affairs
The Department of Elder Affairs has been hard at work since our creation to support Florida families affected by Alz- heimer’s Disease and Related Demen- tias (ADRD). Through our programs that provide respite for caregivers, our rela- tionship with the 15 Memory Disorder Clinics, and our work with Florida Silver Alert–tonameafew– wehavemade great strides making a positive impact for millions of affected Floridians.
But in 2015, we decided that we needed to do more. We wanted to help increase awareness of dementia, pro- vide assistance to communities across Florida, and advocate for dementia care and cure programs. That was the be- ginning of the Dementia Care and Cure Initiative (DCCI).
Individuals diagnosed with de- mentia and their loved ones talked to us about the isolation they felt after
the diagnosis. They were not treated the same as their friends who needed support for other devastating diagnoses like cancer, which had more tangible treatments and progress. We found that most people did not know what to say or how to be supportive of someone di- agnosed with dementia, and many did not even know how to help. We want
to promote compassion and awareness
for Floridians and hope to expand DCCI across the state through the creation of Dementia-Caring Communities.
With more than 520,000 Floridians living with Alzheimer’s disease, tens of thousands more with another form of dementia, and more than 1.1 million caregivers of individuals with ADRD, this is a huge issue in Florida. While de- mentia is not a “normal” part of aging, its incidence does increase with age, so with the highest population of 65+ in the nation, it is not hard to believe that we have – and will continue to have – many in our state affected by dementia. Our mission through DCCI is to engage communities across Florida to be more dementia friendly, promote better care for those diagnosed and their families, and support research efforts to  nd a cure.
The City of Tallahassee/Leon County was announced as the  rst De- mentia-Caring Community through the DCCI. A local task force was created to assess the community needs and identi- fy tangible steps of improvement, such as dementia sensitivity training for  rst responders, health care professionals, business owners, faith-based leaders, and the public. Since then, we have replicated the model across the state in
Pensacola, Jacksonville, Orlando, Fort Myers, and Sarasota, and we hope to continue this expansion until all com- munities in Florida are Dementia-Caring Communities.
Although the groundwork has been laid, the work is certainly not done. We are learning valuable lessons and best practices from each unique Demen- tia-Caring Community and will continue to encourage communities to advance with this noble work in support of the millions of Floridians affected by de- mentia.
As we work to implement Demen- tia-Caring Communities, there are many ways that the public can get involved, including through dementia sensitivity training and awareness, volunteering, and helping to encourage neighbors and friends who are living with Alzhei- mer’s disease or dementia. We hope to never hear again from those affected of the loneliness and isolation; rather, we want to support each other, advocate for care programs and research efforts, and move forward together.
For more information about the Department of Elder Affairs, please visit or call 850-414- 2000. SS
Let LifeStyle Homes build your perfect retirement home in Alamanda Key, a gated 55+ community inspired by the Florida Keys! Enjoy an island-style clubhouse, community pool, community  tness center, tennis court, as well as a wide pathway meandering around two sparkling lakes.
a LifeStyle sales representative at 428 Lorelei Avenue, Melbourne.
Seven tropical home plans to choose from–starting in the $220s.
(321) 549-0009 •
12 | | March 2018
From Tallahassee To You

   10   11   12   13   14