Roseville project aims to help community cope with Alzheimer’s

A volunteer group of residents, businesses and government leaders is about to launch its 2015 project seeking to make Roseville a more dementia-friendly community.

The kick-off event for the Roseville ACT on Alzheimer’s project will be held Thursday, April 23, 1-3 p.m. in the City Council chambers at Roseville City Hall. Organizers, government officials and others will describe how the project will benefit the community.

The effort is designed to expand services for people with dementia and their caregivers, and to help friends and neighbors better understand dementia issues.

The project will offer a series of eight presentations by experts from late April through May, four focused on dementia and the healthy brain, and four on effective caregiving.

A second series of eight presentations will be offered in October. In addition, the group will show four movies on those topics in September and November.

All events will be followed by discussions and will be free and open to the public.

The group also is recruiting volunteers to expand two programs serving people affected by dementia who live in or near Roseville. One is “The Gathering” day program offered by Lyngblomsten. The other is “P.S. I Understand,” a Wilder Caregiver Services program matching current unpaid caregivers with previous caregivers who will offer support.

The project, one of 33 statewide, was started by the Roseville Alzheimer’s and Dementia Community Action Team. That volunteer group was formed in 2013 with representatives of senior service providers, the Roseville school district, city administration, fire and police departments and City Council, the faith community and private citizens.

More about the 2015 program is on the Roseville city website at mers-dementia, an information site maintained by the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Community Action Team.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, an umbrella term for illnesses that typically disrupt a person’s memory, judgment and personality. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, although medications sometimes can slow its progress.

People with Alzheimer’s typically need increasing care and supervision from family members— often causing rising emotional, physical and financial stress—and eventually may need nursing home care. Even businesses may be affected until employees learn how to best serve people with dementia and their caregivers.

Coping with the rising incidence of Alzheimer’s is important statewide, but especially in Roseville, where an estimated 750 people have dementia, most living at home and about 110 living alone.

The city has a higher rate of dementia than average because 20.2 percent of its population is age 65 or older, compared with 12.9 percent statewide.

Warren Wolfe wrote about aging issues for 21 years at the Star Tribune. He and his wife, Sheryl Fairbanks, are active in the Roseville ACT on Alzheimer’s project.

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