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The city of Cleveland Heights was designated as a member of the Network of Communities by Dementia Friendly America, a multi-sector, national collaborative on a mission to foster communities that are equipped to support people with dementia and their family and friend care partners by working to become “dementia friendly.”

Communities designated as dementia friendly are committed to providing educational programming and necessary improvements to prepare all sectors to address the growing opportunities and needs faced by people living with dementia and their care partners, according to a news release.

A cross-sector advisory team was established in Cleveland Heights, with support from Northeast Ohio Medical University’s Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, to discuss opportunities to work together to improve the lives of individuals with dementia and their care partners in Cleveland Heights.

The advisory team includes individuals impacted by dementia, representatives from the local Area Agency on Aging, local Alzheimer’s Association chapter, faith-based organizations, health care providers, first responders, other community-based organizations, government and the local library system. The group took a leadership role in implementing and evaluating the impact of Dementia Friends educational sessions conducted within the city, and members acted within their organizations to become more dementia friendly, including forming dementia task forces and developing a memory kit program at area libraries.

Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging in Cleveland serves as the champion organization responsible for coordinating activities of the advisory team and for continuing to connect local organizations with the important work of Dementia Friendly America, the release stated.

“In September 2020, we hosted a virtual event in Cleveland Heights to introduce the idea of developing a dementia friendly community, and we were overwhelmed by the incredible response we received with over 100 people in attendance,” Jennifer Cardellini, director for consumer information at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, said in the release. “After the event, we knew the City of Cleveland Heights was deeply committed to this important work.”

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