HACKENSACK N.J – Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, the Board of County Commissioners, and the County’s Division of Senior Services under the Department of Human Services announce that the County of Bergen will launch a Dementia Friendly Initiative in partnership with the Act Now Foundation’s Dementia Resource Center.
“Dementia is a disease that sadly impacts millions of Americans and thousands here in Bergen County every single year. It is critical for those living with this debilitating disease to be cared for with the utmost dignity and equally essential for caregivers to have the support and resources necessary to do this often difficult job,” said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. “Thanks to a new partnership between our Division of Senior Services and the Act Now Foundation, the County’s new ‘Dementia Friendly Initiative,’ aims to do just that by supporting caregivers and disseminating information about early detection and prevention.
“Dementia is a disease that requires immense support, not only for the patients, but also for caregivers as well,” said Bergen County Commissioner Chair Pro Tempore Dr. Joan Voss. “By launching this initiative, the County is committed to providing support and taking an important step in our efforts to eliminate the stigma around the disease and continue to help our residents affected by dementia.”
Bergen County has over 220,000 seniors and approximately 20,000 recorded residents living with some form of Dementia. In response to the increasing challenges of this growing population, the Bergen County Division of Senior Services is partnering with Act Now Foundation’s Dementia Resource Center to inform and educate residents, businesses, and community groups.
Part of the initiative includes forming an “Action Team” comprised of professionals from a variety of sectors who will work together towards the common goals of creating a community in which 1) all members of the community will work to create dementia friendly spaces and will have a better understanding of the challenges of those living with dementia and their care partners and 2) caregivers and those living with Dementia will have improved access to and engagement with the community. As an Area Agency on Aging with more than 40 contracted providers, the Division of Senior Services is uniquely qualified to undertake this endeavor.
Key goals among Dementia Friendly Communities include:
Increase awareness and understanding of Dementia and of people living with Dementia
Increase awareness and understanding of brain health and risk reduction
Collaborate with public, private non-profit and health care sectors to better serve people living with Dementia and their care partners
Address the changing needs of people with Dementia and their care partners
Create social and cultural environments that are inclusive to those living with Dementia
And improve the physical environment in public places and systems (i.e. parks, transportation) so that they are Dementia Friendly
If you are a community organization or a Bergen County resident interested in learning more about the countywide Dementia Friendly program, please contact Kerri Sherer, Deputy Director of Senior Services, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.