Promoting a Dementia-Friendly

Marlborough, Massachusetts

Marlborough: City taking steps to become 'dementia-friendly'.

August 8, 2016 article in Metro West Daily News, Click here to view MWDN website.

By Jeff Malachowski, Daily News Staff

 

MARLBOROUGH - A group of volunteers aiming to make Marlborough a "dementia-friendly" community is circulating surveys to businesses and community groups with the goal of eventually planning initiatives to benefit those struggling with the disease.

 

Alongside BayPath Elder Services, the volunteers sent questionnaires to several city restaurants, faith-based organizations, government officials, gas stations, stores, health care organizations and legal and financial planners, said Christine Alessandro, executive director of BayPath.

 

The volunteers and BayPath will then use the data to create a series of initiatives aimed at supporting those struggling with memory loss and their families. Those programs could range from training for employees, an awareness campaign and social opportunities for those with dementia, said Alessandro.

"They're been making a lot of progress," Alessandro said of the surveys. "We're getting a lot of information."

 

Arthur Bergeron, a volunteer, said during a past interview training could include helping employees of local businesses learn to identify the signs of those suffering from dementia and better accommodate their needs, such as suggesting one or two food items at a restaurant instead of offering a full menu with choices that could confuse them.

 

The survey period is expected to be completed by the end of the month, said Alessandro.

 

"They're still being worked on," she said.

Minnesota took the lead on the issue, as more than 35 communities in the state have been deemed dementia-friendly. Officials from Marlborough, Hudson and Northborough, which are also involved in the initiative, recently traveled to Minnesota to get a first-hand look.

 

With a growing population of residents in Massachusetts and across the country living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, Alessandro said initiatives like this are key to helping those with the disease and their families feel comfortable.

 

"We're making tremendous strides," she said.

 

For more information on the initiative visit www.baypath.org or www.actonalz.org.

 

Jeff Malachowski can be reached at 508-490-7466 or jmalachowski@wickedlocal.com.

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