Becoming a ‘Dementia Friendly Community’
We know aging in place is a community aspiration. That’s why, last October, the library joined the Village of Oak Park, the Oak Park Township, and the Park District of Oak Park in the effort to become a designated “Dementia Friendly Community” by the nonprofit organization Dementia Friendly America.
A dementia-friendly community is one in which every sector—from local governments to restaurants, grocery stores, and libraries—works together to create a culture that “is informed, safe and respectful of individuals with the disease, their families and caregivers and provides supportive options that foster quality of life,” according to Dementia Friendly America. River Forest is one of the eight Illinois communities that have already received the dementia-friendly designation.
Oak Park could achieve designation this spring
Nearly 800 Oak Park residents 65 and older may now be living with dementia, according to the Village of Oak Park. Dementia is a general term for memory loss and other cognitive declines that interfere with daily life.
The ultimate goal is keeping people with dementia engaged in the community and living independently for as long as possible. As part of the collaborative effort, training and awareness days are being held for businesses, first responders, and the wider community. And to ensure the changes being made are both meaningful and led by those who need them the most, interviews are being held with those personally affected by dementia in Oak Park.
“The champions of this effort are excited to be working together to aid the community by partnering with organizations from various sectors of Oak Park to make meaningful change in the community,” says Tammie Grossman, Development Customer Services Director for the Village of Oak Park, adding that Oak Park could achieve the official designation by this spring.
Check out Memory Kits at Main Library
For people with memory loss, a Memory Kit can provide mental and emotional stimulation.
The kits, based on themes including gardening, I Love Lucy, and travel, can inspire conversation and build stronger connections.
Memory Kits are available in the Main Library and can be checked out for up to three weeks.
Attend Memory Cafe at Oak Park Township
Memory Cafe is held on the third Tuesday of each month, from 2 to 4 pm, at the Oak Park Township Senior Services Center, 130 S. Oak Park Ave.
It’s designed for individuals living with memory loss and their care partners to have a safe space in the community to connect, share a meal, and enjoy recreational and educational opportunities.
To register, please call 708-383-8060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteer opportunities also are available.