Johnson County was recently recognized as an official Dementia Friendly Community through Dementia Friendly America. Dementia Friendly America equips communities in becoming dementia friendly and supporting people living with dementia.
“This designation is a recognition of our community for our commitment to assist individuals who are experiencing dementia in any way that we can,” said Jeff Kellbach, Johnson County Social Services Aging Specialist. “Johnson County is one of the fastest growing counties in the State of Iowa, and persons 65 and older are the fastest growing demographic. We are working to create a community that is open, inclusive and accommodating to those who are living with dementia, as well as their family, friends and caregivers.”
An action team, co-led by Kellbach and Kim Bergen-Jackson, Administrator of Oaknoll Retirement Residence, was created for area organizations to focus and collaborate on dementia issues in the Johnson County community. The Dementia Friendly Johnson County Action Team includes local representatives from county and municipal government, the Area Agency on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association, and agencies serving the older adult population, including those with dementia.
“Becoming a Dementia Friendly Community gives us an opportunity to come together as a county and help create a safe and supportive environment for people living with dementia,” Bergen-Jackson said. “It feels like a chance to make a real difference in our county together.”
The mission of the Dementia Friendly Johnson County Action Team is to break the stigma surrounding dementia by creating awareness and educating community members and businesses, along with growing the network of Dementia Friends. To learn more about becoming a Dementia Friend or Dementia Friendly Business or Organization contact Kellbach at [email protected] or 319-356-6090.