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Dementia Friendly Pahrump to host community education event in Pahrump

Dementia Friendly is a statewide initiative that aims to develop and promote communities that are respectful, educated, supportive and inclusive of persons living with dementia and their care partners.

On Wednesday, May 29 the local branch of this initiative, Dementia Friendly Pahrump, will host a Community Education Event to help the area become more familiar with its mission and purpose.

“Accepting people who are in dementia is the main message that we are trying to get out there,” detailed Jan Lindsay, Dementia Friendly Co-Chair and well-known Nevada Rural Counties Retired Senior Volunteer Program Field Representative.

“Because they are a part of the community, they want to be part of the community. We want to put the word out to the community to put on a face of acceptance so that when you see somebody who may be struggling, say making change at the check stand for instance, you might feel comfortable enough to approach them and offer to help them. That’s all it takes sometimes, it’s the small things that work really well.”

Dementia Friendly began in 2018 with the launch of six community action groups around the Silver State, including the Pahrump group. The initiative is funded by a three-year federal grant which was awarded to the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division.

There are three main pillars of the initiative.

First, Dementia Friendly is striving to engage all members of Nevada communities, including those with dementia, their families, caregivers and health care professionals, in a dialogue about dementia in its many forms.

The effort also involves fostering a collaborative, multi-sector approach toward becoming dementia friendly and inclusive communities using the Dementia Friendly America model.

Finally, Dementia Friendly aims to expand the reach of the Nevada Dementia Supports Toolbox.

“Dementia is the umbrella and there are about 100 different type of dementia under that umbrella,” Lindsay detailed, noting that Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the kinds of dementia most people are familiar with. “It’s a devastating brain disease, it really is. And this gathering on May 29 is, once again, meant to bring information to the community at large. Hopefully we’ll have a large turnout.

“As you know, our Retired Senior Volunteer Program Respite for the Caregiver program volunteers work with and care for some of our clients in dementia,” Lindsay stated. “This program will enable us to approach the broader community with information regarding dementia and hopefully dispel fears and offer education locally.”

Dementia Friendly and its efforts are co-facilitated with support from Dr. Jennifer Carson, a research assistant professor and director at the University of Nevada, Reno.

UNR’s Sanford Center for Aging is providing evaluation support and program and technical assistance is being offered by a resource development analyst from the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division. The Retired Senior Volunteer Program, better known simply as RSVP, plays the role of the vendor agent for this undertaking.

Carson will head to Pahrump for the Community Education Event on May 29 and she will be joined by former Nevada Senator Valerie Wiener who will add her perspective to the conversation.

The Nevada Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and the 2019 State Plan will be discussed and attendees will watch a film entitled “Cracked: New Light on Dementia” which Lindsay described as a powerful and thought-provoking movie.

“The film we will be watching is a ‘gotcha’, it’s very eye-opening,” Lindsay said. “It’s a live play that was filmed, with some of the people of stage acting as though they are in dementia so we can get an idea of what they are actually going through.

“Then there are actors taking the part of caregivers and then there are a few people who don’t know anything about dementia. It’s so well-done that I haven’t forgotten about it, not one day, since I saw it two months ago. It just stays with me. I got a much better insight into what a person with dementia may be feeling, because it is very hard for them to verbalize.”

The Dementia Friendly Pahrump Community Education Event is set for 2 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29 at the Valley Conference Center, 800 E. Highway 372.

For more information contact Lindsay via email at dementiafriendlypahrump@gmail.com or call 775-253-5791.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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