A Dementia Friends Champion participates in an in-person Champions training. The Champion then facilitates a Dementia Friends Information Session for friends, family, colleagues and the wider community using the Champion’s Guide, Dementia Friends Information Session Workbook and supporting materials. The goal of the Dementia Friends Information Session is to help community members understand dementia and the small things they can do to make a difference for people living with dementia.
Building Dementia Friends in Illinois is of significant importance to the families and persons living with or at risk for dementia. Based on the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures report, it is estimated that 220,000 people in Illinois have dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease and by 2025 the number will increase by 18% to 260,000 people. If all the people with dementia lived in a single Illinois city, it would be the second largest after Chicago. When we take into account that each person with dementia has multiple informal caregivers, another 588,000 persons living in Illinois are impacted by dementia.
Of course, all the people with dementia and their family do not live in a single community; they are living in every community in Illinois. Every one of these individuals has to navigate through their communities to support the well-being of a person living with or at risk for dementia. If they do not feel supported by their neighbors, they start becoming isolated. Isolation leads to worsening well-being along with poor physical and mental health.
Build a network
The key to building the Dementia Friends Illinois network is to engage as many community members as possible in Illinois to recognize how they can take simple steps to support persons living with or at risk for dementia and their families.
A Dementia Champion helps to encourage others to become a Dementia Friend. These Friends develop a better understanding of dementia; will know how to act more empathetically towards people with dementia in their communities and workplaces; and has committed to taking a practical action to help people with dementia, contributing to a dementia friendly community.
From telling friends about the Dementia Friends program to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.
Dementia Champion’s Training
Champions training is offered monthly online. Contact Susan Frick, of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center for information. (312-942-5359 or firstname.lastname@example.org)