BROOKLYN — The Region 2 Area Agency on Aging and the National Council of Dementia Minds, which has Michigan roots, are working together to change the conversation and perception of people living in early stages of dementia.
Region 2 is among five organizations partnering with NCDM to provide groups to give Michiganders living with dementia a voice and hope to live well by participating in a Dementia Minds group.
NCDM was awarded a $100,000 grant by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to help develop Dementia Minds groups for Michiganders living with dementia. NCDM uses weekly support groups led by trained facilitators for discussions that include receiving the diagnosis and how people living with dementia are quickly treated differently.
Bonnie Erickson, NCDM board president and a founding member of the organization, was diagnosed with white matter disease and vascular dementia in 2018. Erickson encourages people living with dementia to join a Dementia Minds group and experience a life-enriching opportunity.
“We provide each other with support and so much more,” Erickson said in a news release. “Our groups share the experience of living with dementia and mild cognitive impairment and share strategies to live well. We also develop friendships, learn new things and have fun.”
Erickson said she is most proud of creating resources and conducting presentations for persons living with dementia, licensed health care professionals, researchers, families, care partners, policymakers and communities at large.
“The National Council of Dementia Mind’s approach is unique and has been truly a lifeline,” Brenda Roberts, executive director of NCDM whose husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2014 at the age of 62, said in the release. “People living with dementia are using humor and hope to promote engagement in improving the lives of persons living with dementia and mild cognitive impairments. Our focus is on connectedness, autonomy, meaning, and growth developed through social support, advocacy events, and opportunities to educate.”
With the Michigan Health Endowment Fund grant, NCDM is partnering with the following five organizations to help develop and host Dementia Minds groups:
Region 2 Area Agency on Aging (serving Lenawee, Jackson and Hillsdale counties).
Region 3 B Area Agency on Aging, doing business as CareWell Services SW (serving Barry and Calhoun counties).
Alpena Senior Center partnering with Besser Senior Living (serving the Alpena region).
Region IV Area Agency on Aging (serving Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties).
Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care (Teepa Snow is one of the world's leading advocates and educators for anyone living with dementia or other forms of brain change, serving the state of Michigan).
To learn more about joining a Dementia Minds group, visit the NCDM website at DementiaMinds.org. Those interested may also contact NCDM Executive Director Brenda Roberts via email at Brenda@DementiaMinds.org or phone 989-330-0290.
Region 2 Area Agency on Aging was established in 1974 and is a not-for-profit agency serving older adults and adults with disabilities in Jackson, Hillsdale and Lenawee counties. For information about this or any of the programs and services offered, contact Region 2 Area Agency on Aging at 517-592-1974 or visit r2aaa.net.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Dementia support groups forming through Region 2 Area on Aging